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Jimmy Kimmel’s plea to lawmakers hits home for two HHS teachers

Warning - post surgery photos included

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Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel announced why his show had been off the air the previous week.  In a tearful monologue, the comedian revealed that his son had been born with a heart defect the previous week — a defect that had required open heart surgery in Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital.

As my husband and I watched his video and saw him repeatedly break down (and still crack jokes — very impressive) I couldn’t help but think back to five years ago when my family was facing the exact same situation.

Our daughter, Lily, was born on April 18, 2012.  We, too, had an observant nurse who, after hearing the murmur in our daughter’s heart, saw the discolored skin and found a visiting pediatrician to look at our daughter.  At 11 o’clock that night, Lily was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital by their helicopter team aptly named Angel One.  Once there, she was diagnosed with Truncus Arteriousus type 1 with stenosis of the truncal valve.  Her doctors needed to wait as long as possible before surgery, trying to get her as big as possible before operating.  On May 4th, she had her six-hour surgery to repair the holes in her heart (not fully repaired at this time) and to give her a false conduit to conduct blood to her lungs to be oxygenated.  Lily is expected to have two to three more surgeries in the future to further repair her heart.  In the meantime, we go to the hospital every six months for echocardiograms and to see her cardiologist.

Before surgery, a few days after surgery, and now (Pre-K graduation)

When Jimmy Kimmel began talking about the latest health care proposal that removes protections for people with pre-existing conditions, it wasn’t theoretical for us.  Without those protections, our daughter doesn’t stand much of a chance.  Like Mr. Kimmel said:

“Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition. And if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do.

Whatever your party, whatever you believe, whoever you support, we need to make sure that the people who are supposed to represent us, the people who are meeting about this right now in Washington, understand that very clearly. Let’s stop with the nonsense. This isn’t football. There are no teams. We are the team. It’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants. We need to take care of each other. I saw a lot of families there and no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here. So. Anyway. Thank you for listening. I promise I’m not going to cry for the rest of the show.”

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The student news site of Rogers Heritage High School
Jimmy Kimmel’s plea to lawmakers hits home for two HHS teachers