We can learn amazing things from a child with special needs. On the weekend edition of Live the Promise Susie welcomes Senator Rick Santorum and his wife Karen to the program to talk about their beautiful daughter Bella.
“Bella is a little girl with a big message – every life matters.”
Rick and Karen were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting. They share how they reacted to Bella’s initial diagnosis of Trisomy 18, a condition that leads to death for the majority of children diagnosed. The doctors informed them that her airway and lungs were not normally formed and that her death would eventually come because of a respiratory disease. It was the fight of their life – but Rick and Karen were determined to give Bella all the love and care she deserved.
Karen and Rick decided to campaign for the presidency in this season in order to fight for Bella and others like her who were being denied proper health care. In Karen’s words,
“They’re not a diagnosis – they’re a person worthy of the same dignity and respect as any other person.”
Rick describes what happened when Bella had a severe health crisis during his campaign. As he left the campaign trail to be with her, something extraordinary happened.
“All the negativity stopped. It didn’t feel like it was appropriate and everyone stood down – we got calls from all of the candidates and media. After people found out about Bella, we had so many people come [to rallies] from the disabled community who had long-term disabilities.”
Karen says it hasn’t been an easy road but God always has a purpose for each life, and for Bella, it’s no different.
“What we may think as being our greatest burden frequently ends up being our greatest blessing. I wouldn’t trade Bella for anything in the world.”
Karen and Rick’s story is recounted in their book, Bella's Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation.
Theme Song: Whole Again by Lincoln Brewster