Having dealt with an autoimmune blood disorder since she was 7, Ella Casano invented Medi-Teddy to take the fear out of IV treatments.
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Whether they're getting regular immunizations or being treated for an illness, kids often feel anxious or fearful when contending with shots or IVs. That's one major reason a 13-year-old from Fairfield, Connecticut named Ella Casano created the Medi-Teddy, a stuffed animal sleeve that slips over a bag of IV medication, fluid, or enteral feeding.

Medi Teddy IV
Credit: Laura Barr Photography

"The back is mesh so the doctor, nurse, or parent can still easily monitor the medication, while from the front the child sees a smiling teddy bear," explains Ella's mother, Meg Casano.

It all began when Ella was in fifth grade and participated in her school's "Invention Convention." "She was encouraged to try to come up with a solution to a problem unique to her," says Meg.

Medi-Teddy
Credit: Laura Barr Photography

When she was 7, Ella was diagnosed with an autoimmune blood disorder called Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), which destroys platelets necessary for normal blood clotting. In turn, she gets IV infusions of IVIG, a medicine that helps increase the number of platelets in her body, every eight weeks. She often felt intimidated by the big bags of medicine hanging on her IV pole, Meg says. "So, she came up with a cute way to camouflage them by creating Medi-Teddy," the proud mom shares.

This year, Ella earned enough donations to get 2,000 of the teddy covers manufactured, and she plans to donate them to hospitals all over the U.S. Medi-Teddy also became a nonprofit, which makes it possible for people to make donations or request a free Medi-Teddy for their child. They are also available for purchase at Medi-Teddy.com.

The response to Ella's invention has been "incredibly moving," Meg says, pointing to the many photos of the Medi-Teddy shared by kids and their parents on social media.

Meg shares, "I don't think people realize just how many kids have to undergo IV infusions or feedings on an ongoing basis, and it can be scary, and boring, and stressful for the entire family. Medi- Teddy is a special buddy the kids can name and bring back and forth to treatments and really brightens up their experience."

Ella's inventive, heartwarming efforts to reduce stress for kids like her deserves a round of applause.