A selfie of Robert Selby and his son, Chace Elijah Selby, would be adorable all on its own. But it’s not just mirror mugging that has people hitting “like” on a photo of the adorable pair.
Three-year-old Chace has a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), and as a result, he’s underweight and uses a feeding tube to eat. In a show of solidarity, his dad cut up one of Chace’s old feeding tubes and glued it to his own stomach, before snapping a photo of the two in the mirror and posting it to his Instagram account.
“I did it to show him that I support him and his condition, that he’s never in a fight alone,” Selby told HuffPost.
A week after Jimmy Kimmel shared the news about his newborn son’s heart defect — and made an emotional plea about preexisting conditions amid the health-care debate — he returned to his late-night show on Monday to huge applause from his studio audience.
“I made an emotional speech that was seen by millions. And as a result of my powerful words on that night, Republicans in Congress had second thoughts about repeal and replace…I saved health insurance in the United States of America,” Kimmel said triumphantly. He paused, then was “shocked” to discover the controversial bill passed in the House. “What’s that? I didn’t? I didn’t save it? They voted against it anyway?! I really need to pay more attention to the news.”
Anyway, Kimmel said, his son Billy is doing well. Kimmel also thanked viewers for their support. Then he noted that some people were very critical of his health-care comments. As you might expect, he did not hold back.
“I know this is gonna shock you — there were also some not-so-nice things that people said online about me, including members of the media,” said Kimmel, showing headlines from the New York Post (“Jimmy Kimmel’s obscene lies about kids and medical care”) and the Washington Times (“Shut up Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep.”)
Kimmel said he was proud of that label, because when he was growing up drinking powdered milk when his family couldn’t afford the liquid, his dream was to become an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist. “I guess it came true!” he exclaimed.
He continued the sarcasm. “I would like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health-care. It was insensitive,” Kimmel deadpanned. “It was offensive and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
He saved most of his ire for Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House. “There are some very sick and sad people out there. Here’s one of them, his name is Newt Gingrich,” Kimmel said. He ran a clip of Gingrich on “Fox News Sunday” criticizing Kimmel’s comments and saying that when a newborn has a heart problem, doctors will help immediately, and not wait until the family cuts a check.
“Yes, it is true that if you have an emergency, they will do an operation. And that’s terrific if your baby’s health problems are all solved during that one visit. The only problem is…
I don’t need comedian Jimmy Kimmel to lecture me on pre-existing conditions and insurance coverage. Earlier this week, the funny man made national headlines for the most serious of reasons: his son was born with a congenital heart defect and required emergency surgery to save his life. The emotional roller coaster caused Kimmel to speak out on current attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, he denounced the provisions that would affect how insurance companies cover anyone with a pre-existing health condition. It is among the core issues faced by Congress today.
Kimmel’s heartfelt advocacy drew the ire of some and rebukes from others. Most detractors lambasted Kimmel for using his celebrity to speak out, as though he should forfeit his First Amendment rights because he happens to be household name. I had a very different reaction to Kimmel speaking on the topic.
When she was born, my step-daughter Bailey had a congenital heart defect. Or, more precisely as my wife Lori corrected me, three defects. Bailey required immediate intervention and surgery. To this day, my wife cannot talk about the first few weeks of Bailey’s life without tearing up.
Luckily, Lori had insurance through her employer and not only did Bailey get the help she needed, she got it from the pre-eminent pediatric surgeon in the world, Dr. Roger Mee at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Mee’s exploits in saving children’s lives is so renowned that a journalist once chronicled his work in a book entitled “Walk on Water.” If you want to know a little about what Kimmel’s family and…
Awareness of this serious congenital heart defect got a big bump after the late-night host shared the story of his newborn son’s diagnosis and open-heart surgery.
Kimmel choked up as he told the audience how, a few hours after baby Billy’s relatively trouble-free delivery on April 21, a “very attentive” nurse detected a heart murmur (which is somewhat common in newborns) and observed that his skin appeared purple (which was not normal).
“They determined he wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his blood,” Kimmel recounted, “which, as far as I understand, is most likely one of two things: either his heart or his lungs.”
A chest X-ray revealed that Billy’s lungs were fine, “which meant his heart wasn’t.”
Later that night, a pediatric cardiologist diagnosed Billy with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with pulmonary atresia, a severe variety of a combo pack of four related congenital heart defects named for Étienne-Louis Arthur Fallot, the French doctor who identified the disease’s four defining traits in 1888.
TOF affects one in 2,500 newborns; the pulmonary atresia variety affects less than 20% of that number.
Children with TOF have all four cardiac defects in varying degrees but in Billy’s case, the two most serious problems are a completely obstructed pulmonary valve or artery (atresia) and a hole between his left and right ventricles (ventricular septal defect).
“The pulmonary valve is the aspect that needs immediate attention,” explains Dr. Nicolas Madsen, an assistant professor of pediatric cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and vice-chair of the Medical Advisory Board for the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association.
“Without flow through the pulmonary valve, there’s only one other way for blood to get into the lungs, and that’s through a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus that’s wide open during pregnancy to allow blood to skip the lungs, since the placenta provides all the oxygen. But once you’re born and need all of the blood going to the lungs, that connection between the…