Ella Casano isn’t what you’d expect from a typical teenager. The 13-year-old is the brains, and heart, behind Medi Teddy—a stuffed animal pouch that cutely conceals an IV bag.

Casano was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, or ITP, when she was seven-years-old. ITP causes the body to destroy platelets in the blood. While some children outgrow the disease, Casano didn’t. This means the now-13-year-old needs to spend one day every eight weeks in an outpatient clinic getting an IV infusion.

No stranger to IVs, Casano understand the fear and intimidation young patients often feel around these bags. The teddy bear bag covers cleverly camouflage the bags, while still making it possible for parents and medical staff to see the medication or blood products inside (each Medi Teddy has a mesh back).

Not only did Casano invent the Medi Teddy, but the 13-year-old also set out to help children—for free! Casano and her family started a Meddy Tedi GoFundMe fundraiser last summer to raise money for the first order of 500 bears. Instead of directly selling all the products, Casano decided to donate the teddy bear bag covers to children in need.

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I had my infusion today. My platelet count wasn’t as low as it usually is in order for me to get treated, but I wanted to be able to go skiing with my family this week, even if it meant missing a few days of break to a migraine. The most important thing to remember when you’re going through these situations is that you are not alone. The pictures and emails we’ve received through Medi Teddy have opened my eyes to the population of children who go through the same thing as I do, and today in the hospital I was comforted by the thought that I am not the only one. And neither are you. 💙💙💙. . . . #mediteddy #medi_teddy #ellacasano #wereinthistogether❤️ #infusionkids #plateletsup #itpwarrior #autoimmunestrong #givegenerously #comfortthesick

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Even though the initial fundraiser had a $5,000 goal, the Medi Teddy GoFundMe campaign has raised over $24,500! Along with the fundraising campaign, Medi Teddy is now a registered 501(c)3 public charity that accepts donations.

If you would like to help Casano and her cause, visit the Medi Teddy GoFundMe page or the Medi Teddy charity site. To order a Medi Teddy for your child or children in need, visit Medi Teddy’s site here. Families in need can get one free donated Medi Teddy from the charity’s site too.

—Erica Loop

Photos: Laura Barr Photography

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