Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told Newsmax TV on Thursday that “America has a huge heart” – as so many people have asked him about the health of his daughter, Isabella, who suffers from a rare, life-threatening genetic condition.
“It’s one of the great blessings that came from this campaign,” Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential race in April, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview at Restoration Weekend 2012 in Palm Beach, Fla. “In fact, just in the hallway before I came over here, I ran into someone I didn’t know – and they recognized me, and it’s always the first question I get now.
“At airports and with cab drivers – and it’s just amazing what a blessing that Bella has been, and it’s opened up the eyes of, hopefully, a lot of people about the dignity of all human life and how important family is.”
Known as “Bella,” Santorum’s youngest daughter turned 4 in May. She suffers from Trisomy 18.
Also known as Edwards syndrome, Trisomy 18 is a genetic disorder in which a person has a third copy of material from chromosome 18, instead of the usual two copies. The extra material affects normal development. It is more common in girls than in boys.
At the time of her birthday, Santorum noted that only 10 percent of babies with Bella’s condition survive birth and 90 percent fail to celebrate their first birthday.
He credited his wife, Karen, for her work as primary caregiver. “Karen is the one standing up, because she’s the caregiver, as I work as hard as I do,” Santorum told Newsmax. “It’s been an amazing blessing to me to know that America has a huge heart.
“Bella’s great,” added the former Pennsylvania senator and chairman of Patriot Voices. “We appreciate all of the prayers. People are always telling me they’re praying for us, so keep it up.
“She’s a miracle every day. We know that. We cherish every day with her – and we feel very, very good that, hopefully, she’ll continue to do well.”
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