Ella Casano is a 12-year-old living with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) who had a brilliant idea about how she could help other children living with rare diseases like her own. She started her own nonprofit, and it has quickly gone viral.
Ella was first diagnosed with ITP at age 7. Some children with the condition “grow out of it” so to speak. But for Ella, it has continued to affect her life 5 years later.
The disease causes extremely low platelets in the blood. Platelets are essential for blood clotting, which means that ITP patients are at a high risk for excessive bleeding. Due to this risk, children aren’t able to participate in many sports or activities when their platelet levels are low.
Ella has IV treatments of IVIG every 8 weeks. This medicine increases platelet levels in the body.
The very first time she had an infusion, Ella was surprised and kind of intimidated by all of the tubes connected to her through her IV pole. As she had more infusions, she began to notice that she wasn’t the only kid in the hospital a little apprehensive about the IV bags.
If only there were a way to cover up the bags while still allowing the medical professionals easy access to do what they needed to do.
In the fifth grade, Ella was required to come up with a business proposal for school. This assignment, and the inspiration from her own experiences, helped Ella come up with the idea of the Medi Teddy.
The Medi Teddy is a teddy bear that covers IV bags of medication or blood so they aren’t in view of the pediatric patient. The back of the bags are made of mesh so that doctors can still monitor the fluids. These bears help make the whole experience less intimidating for the patient and the required IV, in Ella’s words, “friendlier.”
Ella came up with the prototype herself and created her very own business plan. Her parents simply helped bring her idea to life by finding a distributor.
How to Donate
If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe you can do so here. Thanks to generous support and media coverage, she has far exceeded her goal of 5,000. In just four days she has reached 13,325 dollars. At the time of writing, they are close to 20,000. 5,000 was the amount needed to order the minimum order of 500 bears from her distributor, the New England Toy Company. All 500 bears will be donated to children who are dealing with similar illnesses as Ella’s own ITP diagnosis.
Ella’s whole family has been blown away with the public’s response so far. They say they have been “inundated in such a wonderful way” with countless stories and words of support. They say they will respond to each and every email over the next few weeks, ensuring that all who want a Medi Teddy will receive one. They encourage families to reach out if they haven’t received a response in a week- they want to make sure no child is missed.
Ella already has plans for the future. She hopes to design IV bags that look like other animals besides just bears. She also wants to create personalized clothing for the animals. To accomplish this goal, Ella hopes to collaborate with other organizations and sports teams.
Judging from the initial response of her idea, we can only expect that Ella’s company will continue to flourish, providing comfort to other children like her, who are also living with a rare disease or chronic illness.