Human Events Blog

Best Wishes For Bella Santorum

Rick Santorum’s 3-year-old daughter, Bella, who suffers from a serious genetic condition called Trisomy 18, was hospitalized with pneumonia over the weekend, prompting her father to race home from Florida to be at her side.  By Sunday, Santorum was able to deliver good news to his supporters in Florida, describing Bella’s improvement as “miraculous.”  As Fox News reports:

[Rick Santorum] described the situation as a “very, very tough night last night” but said by late Sunday Bella was “alert and back to her own beautiful, happy girl.”

“It’s been a very hectic 36 hours,” Santorum said. “Life in the Santorum family has dramatically improved since the late afternoon.”

He said doctors hope she can go home in the next few days.

The Boston Globe says Santorum announced he was resuming campaign activities during the conference call with his Florida supporters:

The former Pennsylvania senator also said, “We’re going to get out on the campaign trail later tomorrow … heading out to the Midwest, and start campaigning in the next states as we move this campaign forward.”

Santorum scheduled a speech Monday in Missouri and another event in southwest Minnesota — two states with early February contests. He then planned to head to Colorado and Nevada for events Tuesday.

“I feel very, very good about where we are and where the campaign is going,” the candidate said.

Fox News relayed best wishes for the Santorum family from across the political spectrum:

“Ann and I send prayers and best wishes for Bella’s good health to Rick and Karen Santorum and their entire family,” said Republican presidential primary frontrunner Mitt Romney.

“Lift up prayers for Bella and the Santorum family,” said Newt Gingrich backer and former GOP rival Rick Perry.

“Thank you, Rick and Karen Santorum, for living the Christ-like example of sacrifice and right priorities,” wrote Sarah Palin on Facebook on behalf of her family. “Nothing is more precious or important than the life of an innocent child. Our prayers are with Bella, a perfect child in an imperfect world. God bless the beautiful Santorum family.”

“Let me also add my prayers and thoughts for Senator Santorum and his child. I have gone through problems with a child and my heart goes out to him and his family,” said President Obama’s adviser David Axelrod at the start of an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” a show on which Santorum had been scheduled to appear but canceled. As an infant, Axelrod’s daughter sustained brain damage from a series of massive epileptic seizures.

ABC News published a summary of Trisomy 18 that gives an idea of the odds Bella Santorum has been overcoming:

Children with Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, have an extra copy of chromosome 18, which causes symptoms like clenched hands, low birth weight, mental deficiency, small head and jaw and an unusual-shaped chest, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Most children with Trisomy 18 die in the first three months of life, and only 10 to 20 percent survive past the first year,” said Dr. Robert Marion, Chief of Genetics and Developmental Medicine at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

No doubt someone out there has already suggested that Bella Santorum’s illness should be held against her father’s presidential aspirations, since it has already distracted him from the campaign a few times.  (He also caught a red-eye flight home after the Las Vegas GOP debate to be with her following surgery.)  I just haven’t got the heart to go looking for that sort of blog post or editorial, and no desire to quote from it. 

But I will say this: I hope whoever occupies the White House in 2013 has Rick Santorum’s sense of priorities, duty to his family, and his reverence for innocent life.  How many of us manage as many miracles in a lifetime as Rick, Karen, and Bella Santorum have experienced in just the past three years?  Here’s hoping for many more.


Sign Up