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Girl with autoimmune disease creates teddy bears that hide IV bags

Ella gets regular IV infusions because of an autoimmune condition, which inspired her to create a product that hides the IV bags behind cuddly teddy bears.

Ella Casano is no stranger to needles. 

When she was 7, she was diagnosed with a condition called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, or ITP. 

ITP is a condition that causes unusually low platelet levels and excessive bleeding and bruising. For most kids with ITP, the condition will eventually go away. 

That wasn't the case for Ella. Now 12 years old, she needs to get IV infusions every eight weeks and can't participate in certain activities when her levels are low because of the risk of bleeding. 

Credit: Laura Barr Photography / www.laurabarrphotography
Ella Casano

In fifth grade, when she had to come up with a business idea for a project at school, she started thinking about these infusions. The tubes and needles look scary to kids, so she decided to design a product that would make medical experiences less intimidating. 

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Ella created an invention called the "Medi Teddy," an IV cover shaped like a teddy bear. The back of the cover is mesh, so doctors and nurses can monitor medication administration. 

Credit: Meg Casano
Ella Casano's 'Medi Teddy' invention.

She made a prototype and developed a business plan. Her parents helped her find a distributor to bring her idea to life. 

Credit: Meg Casano
The Medi Teddy has a mesh back so doctors and nurses can monitor the medication.

Ella's mom Meg said her daughter was adamant Medi Teddy be a not-for-profit organization, so she could give back to other kids going through similar experiences. 

The Connecticut resident was raising $5,000 through GoFundMe to fulfill the minimum order of 500 units with her distributor, but quickly eclipsed that goal. Today, she's raise more than $20,000. She plans to donate all the bears to other kids in the hospital. 

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In the future, she hopes to design additional animals and work with sports teams or other organizations to design personalized clothing for the Medi Teddies. 

Meg said the support for her daughter's project has been "moving." 

She describes Ella as hardworking, introspective and thoughtful. 

"She has this amazing maturity and grace," she said. 

You can support Ella's Medi Teddies here. 

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