The Florida primaries are underway, and one presidential hopeful -- Rick Santorum -- is sitting some crucial campaigning out. The Republican politician canceled Sunday morning campaign events, which included an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, as well as an appearance at a Miami church, in order to be with his 3 1/2 year-old daughter, Bella, who was admitted to a hospital back in Philadelphia. Last night, a spokesman for Santorum said, "Rick and his wife Karen are admitting their daughter Bella to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this evening. Rick intends to return to Florida and resume the campaign schedule as soon as is possible."
Wow, pretty crappy news. And although it's gotta be difficult for any politician to ever pull away from campaigning, Santorum without question made the right choice. See, Bella has Trisomy 18, and, as Santorum himself told the Washington Post last year, even a cold can mean she's "this close to dying."
Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a genetic condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. Many women have tests to see if their fetus has this extra chromosome between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy (a nuchal translucency screening). It's the second most common autosomal trisomy after Down Syndrome. Typically, those affected with Trisomy 18 are female, and as sad as it is, the majority of fetuses don't make it to birth. Those who do have a very low rate of survival due to heart abnormalities and other organ disorders. Needless to say, it's a disorder that most likely has parents on pins and needles every time something is "off" with their child. So, naturally, Santorum had to be there.
No matter what your political beliefs are, you have to feel for Santorum right now. Take away his platforms and his policies and he's just a dad with a sick little girl. And that's always heartbreaking. Hopefully, Bella will make a quick recovery and Rick will be back on the campaign trail in no time.
Did you have a nuchal transluceny screening? Why or why not?
Image via CafeLindsay/Flickr
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