A young girl from Connecticut turned her time spent in the hospital into a chance to help ease the fear of many other young patients.
Ella Casano, now 12, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) when she was seven.
"It's when her body attacks and destroys its own platelets, so it puts her at higher risk for bleeding or injury, more than most people," Meg Casano, Ella's mother, told CNN.
Due to ITP, Ella had to have IV infusions every six to eight weeks. As for many young children, and adults, this process scared her.
"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 said in a statement on her website.
Ella stared down her fear and came up with a creative solution to disguise the medicine.
"So, she cut up a stuffed animal and used a hot glue gun and made her very first Medi Teddy," Casano said.
Seeing how delighted the nurses were with the idea, Ella and her mother started the process to patent, manufacture and distribute the invention they named Medi Teddy.
"The purpose of the Medi Teddy is to conceal a bag of IV fluid, medication, or blood product from the child who is receiving it and instead provide a friendly face to look at!," Casano said.
The back side of the pouch is made of mesh so that nurses and doctors can see the status of the medicine the patient is receiving. Ella made several prototypes and gave them to her nurses to use for feedback on how to make it better.
She then researched business plans at school for an independent study and crafted her own for Medi Teddy. With the help of her mom, they are filing paperwork to make the company a nonprofit organization.
On Sunday, they launched a GoFundMe to raise $5,000 so that they can place their first order of 500 units. By Thursday, they surpassed their goal by over $2,000.
"The response has been wonderful -- her nurses have tried the prototypes and given suggestions," Casano said. "And we think we are ready to produce a really awesome product that can help hundreds of kids. "
Once the bears are made, she says they plan on giving them to children at no cost.
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