Steel yourself, because this story is going to make you cry. But not in the "Oh god, what is the world coming to?"-sort of way we usually cry — it'll make you cry because it is happy and sad in equal parts.
A little girl named Ella Casano was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, otherwise known ITP. That's the sad part. But what's happy about this story is that what she's doing with that diagnosis is actually very sweet and thoughtful and maybe even kind of inspirational?
Since her condition forces her to regularly go to the hospital, Ella saw a lot of IV bags dangling over her, looking all bleak and intimidating. So she decided to cover them up with joy.
Ella invented the Medi Teddy, a cute little teddy bear who can cover up the IV bags. And since she figured IV bags and other medical equipment were probably freaking out other kids, she's working to mass-produce Medi Teddys.
Millions of children go to the hospital each year.
via: ShutterstockThe Connecticut Hospital Association suggests that 3 million kids a year are hospitalized. It's sad every time, and just feels... off. Because hospitals aren't where kids belong.
Where do kids belong?
via: ShutterstockKids belong either outside, runnin' all around and getting dizzy, or in the living room, playing video games and getting the controllers all sticky. Maybe the bank, if their mom or dad doesn't have anywhere to drop them off.
Children's hospitals do a great job of making visits less scary.
via: ShutterstockAnd pediatricians do that mostly by humoring kids and putting their stethoscopes up to whatever nonsense toy they bring along with them. And god bless them for doing that — I know I wouldn't have the patience to take the heartbeat of a GI Joe.
But for kids, the hospital experience is almost always scary.I know this because I got my tonsils out when I was, I don't know, seven, and I knew I'd get endless ice cream and Game Boy games afterward. But I was still terrified.
All that medical equipment sitting around doesn't help.
via: ShutterstockBetween all the computer screens and defibrillators and MRI machines and EKGs and IV bag drips, it's hard for kids not to think they're always one bad cough away from becoming a medical experiment.
There has to be a way to hide it all.
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And who better to find a way to hide that medical equipment than someone who deals with it on the regular?
Ella has idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP.on her website, "Many kids who get this grow out of it within a few months, but for me it’s never gone away. That makes me a pretty rare case."
Her condition can be managed, but not cured.There's no single solution that will cure Ella of ITP, but she does have a few options, including going into the hospital for an IVIG infusion, which increases her blood platelet count.
So while she's pretty used to the hospital by now...For years now, Ella's gone to the hospital for an IVIG infusion every eight weeks. You have to imagine she knows all the front desk and gift shop employees by now.
... that doesn't make the hospital any less scary.
via: ShutterstockCome on, it's still so terrifying! This is how medical stuff appears to kids — it looks like an overhead laser is about to cut them open and jostle their kidneys all around.
Ella, then, decided to make that equipment cheerier.Why, it's always a positive step to change something that once looked sad into something that looks happy! That's why we all love The Joker, America's most beloved public figure!
Ella created Medi Teddy.
Medi Teddy is designed to cover up IV bags.her website, Ella wrote, "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 decided that, instead of looking at sterilized medical equipment, she'd rather have a little friend hanging by her bed side.
When I first saw the Medi Teddy, I was like "why doesn't the IV bag go inside?"
But then I realized nurses would still need to check it.
via: ShutterstockIt's not like nurses could just unzip the bear, pull out the IV bag, do that weird flicky thing they do to IV bags, and put it back without completely traumatizing the child watching. It'd look like their favorite bear was getting their guts pulled out!
But now it kind of looks like the teddy bear has on a sweet backpack.I suppose I can get down with a bear wearing a backpack. Besides, bears with backpacks are all the rage since Banjo & Kazooie were announced for Super Smash Bros. at E3. The internet loves bears with backpacks.
Ella started making Medi Teddys on her own before hospital visits.CNN and said, "[Ella] cut up a stuffed animal and used a hot glue gun and made her very first Medi Teddy." It's all very much a Frankenstein-sort of deal, but, like, a cute Frankenstein, so it's okay.
And Ella got great feedback from the nurses.
via: ShutterstockYou know, I'm sure the hanging bears are a nice change of pace for the nurses too. They spend their entire working lives at the hospital — you have to imagine they're pretty much over looking at all that medical equipment themselves.
So Ella's decided to take Medi Teddy WORLDWIDE.Her plans go beyond making Medi Teddys for herself. Still writing on her website, Ella said, "As I saw more and more children experiencing the same feelings, I became more interested in creating a friendlier experience for young IV patients, so I created Medi Teddy!"
She recently launched a GoFundMe to mass-produce Medi Teddys.
via: ShutterstockThank god — a good use for GoFundMe. If I get one more invite from my buddy Kelvin asking me to help "chip in on my rent brah, times are rough," I will honestly consider not donating.
And her goal was shattered.
via: GoFundMeThis is clear evidence that the internet is touched by Ella's idea. We all want to ease the suffering of kids who have to go to the hospital, and Ella's GoFundMe is a small way to do that.
Ella and her family are trying to make Medi Teddy a 501(c)3 non-profit.
via: ShutterstockWhile the idea of setting up a non-profit is incredibly noble, my god it sounds so complicated. I imagine you'd have to fill out forms and find notaries and, I don't know, reference cross-sections.