Getting an IV at the hospital can be pretty scary for a lot of people, especially kids. So when a young girl from Connecticut was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that requires frequent IV infusions, she turned her own fear into the sweetest opportunity to help other young patients—and we’re beyond inspired.
Ella Casano has Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), a condition in which her body destroys the platelets in her blood, preventing it from clotting properly. Without regular infusions, ITP puts the 12-year-old at a higher risk of excessive bleeding and bruising.
Recalling her first IV infusion at age seven in a statement on her website, Ella explained that she was “surprised and a little bit intimidated by the look of the amount of tubing and medical equipment on [her] IV pole.” And who could blame her?
Ella’s creative juices started flowing during her hospital visits every six to eight weeks, and she was even more inspired by the other kids she saw facing the same fears. Meg Casano, Ella’s mom, told CNN that Ella “cut up a stuffed animal and used a hot glue gun and made her very first Medi Teddy”—a plush bear that offers a friendly face while concealing bags of IV fluid, medication or blood. So cute! With strong determination and support from her mother, Ella developed her sweet idea and even got a patent for the Medi Teddy.
This sweet little boy just restored our faith in humanityFrom the front, the accessory looks like a normal stuffed bear, but a mesh pouch in the back allows doctors and nurses to see through and check the fluid or medication the child is receiving. Ella’s nurses were keen to give feedback on her first prototypes, and with the encouragement of those around her she crafted her business plan and filed paperwork to hopefully turn the project into a non-profit organization. You go girl!
To produce another 500 Medi Teddies, the mother-daughter duo launched a GoFundMe page to raise $5000—and after a week they’ve raised almost $20,000.
The best part? Ella says that once the bears are made they will be given out to hundreds of young IV patients—at absolutely no cost. Talk about bringing a little sunshine into the world!