Being a patient at a hospital is rarely fun for anyone, no matter what age they are.
For kids, however, the experience can be especially daunting. From the scary-looking machines to the various nurses and doctors who, no matter how good their bedside manner, can never quite put a child at ease.
But while the underlying, unnerving feeling may never fully go away, some people are going the extra mile to make sure others feel a little more comfortable during their stay.
12-year-old Ella Casano, for example, is no stranger to hospitals. Aged seven she was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP).
The condition means Ella is at high risk for bleeding or injury, and must receive treatment every eight weeks, which includes the use of an intravenous (IV) drip.
Ella, from Connecticut, is using her experience with IVs to help other kids, by putting a friendly face on what is often an uncomfortable part of hospital visits.
Ella designed the Medi Teddy as a way to conceal the IV, by putting the bag of fluid inside a teddy bear, to cover up the usual medical equipment.
Ella has now patented the Medi Teddy, and hopes it will bring some degree of comfort for other kids going through hospital treatment.
The 12-year-old wrote on her website:
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.
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. I hope that Medi Teddy helps you just as much as it helps me!
Ella launched a GoFundMe page to raise enough money to fund around 500 of the pouches for various hospitals. However, hoping for $5,000, the fundraiser has so far brought in more than $19,500.
As the crowd funding site reads:
We thought if we were lucky, we would raise enough money to help 500 kids get a Medi Teddy for free. We figured we’d be delivering crates of Medi Teddys to hospitals in our community and that many might refuse us.
Never in a million years did we expect the outpouring of world-wide support and desire for Medi Teddy! You guys knocked this out of the park and we are so grateful!!!!
We are adapting quickly and working hard on the best plan to help as many kids as possible have a Medi Teddy for free and also how to meet the demand that we are experiencing.
I hope you don’t need to go to hospital any time soon, but if you do, look out for a Medi Teddy on your IV.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.