Girl With Autoimmune Disease Creates Teddy Bear Pouch That Hides IV Bags

By Paula Liu

A 12-year-old girl designed a teddy bear that tucks and hides medical IV bags.

Ella Casano was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease since she was seven, and since then, has needed IV injections to treat her disease. She was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), which causes her body to destroy blood platelets. For Ella Casano, the risk of bleeding and bruising is high, according to WGRZ.

Blood platelets function by recognizing bruising and body damage. Platelets work to clot blood and help stop bleeding when people get hurt, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Some children who have ITP are able to recover from the disease without treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic.

However, for Ella Casano, it didn’t go away, and she’s had to undergo IV infusion treatment every eight weeks in order to recover the platelets that she loses to the disease. She’s also not allowed to participate in certain activities that have a potential for high risk, especially when her platelet count is low, reported WGRZ.

For young Ella Casano, every time she went to the hospital to get her injections, she said was surprised and slightly intimidated by all the medical equipment that was hanging off of her IV pole. And in order to help with that, she created something that would make her time at the hospital a lot easier to handle, according to WTHR. She called her creation “Medi Teddy.”

“When I had my first infusion, I was surprised and a little bit intimidated by the look of the amount of tubing and medical equipment on my IV pole,” Ella wrote, according to the Medi Teddy website. “As I aw more and more children experiencing the same feelings, I became more interested in creating a friendlier experience for young IV patients, so I created Medi Teddy. I hope that Medi Teddy helps you just as much as it helps me!”

Medi Teddy’s Instagram also featured a picture of Ella getting her injection when she was 8. It read, “these photos are of me getting IVs at the hospital in 2015, when I was 8. I remember feeling afraid of the look of the medical equipment. Thank you to everyone who donated to Medi Teddy. We are almost half way to our goal of helping 500 kids in the hospital who might feel this way too.”

For her fifth-grade class project, she decided to come up with a business idea to help others out—children who might have the same experience with medical equipment as she does—by creating a teddy bear mesh pouch. It featured a cuddly teddy bear in the front and a mesh pouch for the IV bags and other equipment at the back. The mesh bag at the back enables medical professionals to easily access the medical equipment, according to WGRZ.

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My Medi Teddy prototypes came in handy at my infusion yesterday! #medi_teddy #yalenewhavenhospital #itp

A post shared by Medi Teddy (@medi_teddy) on

Ella Casano created a prototype for her idea, and even created a business plan to go along with it. Her parents supported her and helped her locate a manufacturer that would be able to bring her project to life. According to the news outlet, Ella had been very clear about what she wanted for the future of her Medi Teddy product, and according to Ella Casano’s mother, Meg, Ella told her that she wanted Medi Teddy to be a not-for-profit organization, so she would be able to distribute the Medi Teddies for free to children who are in need of them.

Ella had filed a patent for the idea, but in order for the manufacturing company, New England Toy Company, to make them, the first order needs to be a minimum of 500 units. In order to raise the money for the first order, the Casano family started a GoFundMe campaign. At the time of this publication, it had received nearly $15,000, passing the $5,000 goal. The Casano thanked the people who donated and made Ella’s idea possible and said the Medi Teddies would be distributed to children in need at no cost.

According to the GoFundMe campaign, the family is also in the process of filing for a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation application for Ella’s Medi Teddy, but it takes around 4 to 6 months for the IRS to approve their application.