Ella Casano is a 12-year-old from Connecticut who was diagnosed with autoimmune disorder Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) when she was 7. She doesn’t let it hold her back, and has turned her own experiences into fuel for a passion to help other kids going through similar things.
After countless trips and hours spent at the hospital staring at IV drips, Ella created the “Medi-Teddy” IV bag covers to help create a friendlier experience for other kids getting medical treatment. Here’s the story behind the bears and the super-kid who makes them.
Her Own Experience
ITP is a non-contagious autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own platelets. This results in low platelet levels and excessive bleeding and bruising. Usually, ITP eventually goes away in children as they grow up.
But this wasn’t the case for Ella. To do the things she loves as a 12-year-old, Ella must get IV infusions every 8 weeks. Even after going through all the infusions and subsequent steroid injections, Ella has to take time off school because of migraines and the after-effects of the treatments.
Helping Other Kids Who Feel The Same Way
“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 recalls. Ella gets just how scary it is being a kid and going through intense and long term medical treatment where you feel far from home and your regular comfortable environments.
“Which would you rather see if you were a child in the hospital?” the Medi-Teddy Instagram asks. I think we’re all in agreement that an adorable bear is way more appealing than a bag of sodium chloride.
Every Medi-Teddy Is Free
Ella is adamant about keeping the product free so families don’t have another medical expense on their hands. All the materials used to create Medical-Teddies are crowdsourced through GoFundMe by Ella and the Casano family.
Currently, Ella has set the goal of raising $5,000 through GoFundMe to fulfill the minimum order of 500 units with her distributor. So far, the GoFundMe page has raised over $14,530 and counting. A few of the people are donating are families in similar situations with children who also have ITP.
A Functional Way To Add A Little Fun
One common concern with creating IV bag covers is the potential to impede doctors and nurses doing their jobs. IV bags are clear so that medical professionals can see exactly what medications are being administered and how much is left in the bag.
Ella anticipated this issue when she designed the Medi-Teddy, and has added a mesh backing to the other side of the IV cover. That way, doctors and nurses can see what they’re doing and the child attached can still see the bear.
A Super Twist
Back in 2013, A.C.Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo Brazil released superhero themed chemotherapy covers for its littler patients. Justice League heroes like Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and Batman were featured. The hospital also renamed the chemotherapy in the covers as “Superformula.”
This was able to happen because the hospital and the Warner Bros. owned Justice League are mutual clientele of worldwide ad agency JWT. The covers have been jointly released with a special series of comic books wherein Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Green Lantern go through similar experiences to the patients and recover thanks to the Superformula.