Ella Casano has turned her own hospital experience into a creative solution that could provide comfort for other children across the country.
The 12-year-old Connecticut girl regularly spends time in hospitals being treated for a rare autoimmune disease called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). In short, this means Casano has far too few platelets in her blood, preventing it from clotting normally. Most children recover naturally, but Casano’s is a rare and unfortunate case.
Consequently, she returns to an outpatient clinic every two months for a dose of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a drug that helps her body produce the needed clotting cells so she can participate in normal childhood activities. And while anyone would understandably feel discouraged by the process, Casano has turned her own struggles into hope for other children.
“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,” Casano said, according to the “Medi Teddy” website. “As I saw more and more children experiencing the same feelings, I became more interested in creating a friendlier experience for young IV patients.”
Medi Teddy now holds a patent and is currently in the process of applying for recognition as a non-profit organization. Casano hopes to provide the bears to pediatric patients at no cost. A GoFundMe page was started to raise money for the minimum order of 500 from New England Toy. As of this writing, it has already quadrupled its $5,000 goal.
Casano’s mother, Meg, could not be more proud of her daughter: “Yes, I am proud of her, but more than that I feel happy for her,” she said. “She’s endured so much, missed so much, and tolerated so much, and I’m so happy to see her so thrilled that her idea is taking off.”