Last night, while all of Hollywood seemed to be in New York for the Met Gala, Jimmy Kimmel used his monologue to share a deeply personal story with an important political message.
On April 21, Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney, welcomed their second child, William John Kimmel, or Billy for short. During an emotional 13-minute monologue, Kimmel detailed Billy's birth and health complications, CNN reports.
Kimmel described the delivery as easy and said everything about the birth seemed normal, until it wasn't. "He appeared to be a healthy normal baby until about three hours after he was born."
Kimmel prefaced his monologue by assuring the audience that the story had a happy ending, but he was visibly shaken and emotional from the moment he started sharing the story. He went on to explain that Billy was born with congenital heart disease, which was discovered when a very attentive nurse noticed he had a heart murmur and was turning slightly purple.
As soon doctors realized Billy's heart was the issue, they sprang into action.
"It's a terrifying thing," Kimmel said. "You know, my wife is back in the recovery room, she has no idea what's going on and I'm standing in the middle of a lot of worried looking people—kind of like right now—who were trying to figure out what the problem is."
The problem was identified—Billy was born with a rare heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. Kimmel emotionally explained that Billy's pulmonary valve was completely blocked and there was a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart. Three days later, the newborn underwent open-heart surgery.
on behalf of my family, thank you for the lovely and loving tweets about our son Billy and for your donations to https://t.co/HOIUvNt8WE XOMay 2, 2017
While Billy is doing well now, he will have to have more surgeries in the future. Kimmel used the experience as an opportunity to praise the team at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and to highlight important political issues surrounding healthcare in America—specifically the importance of protecting the ACA provision that prohibits health insurance companies from turning away people with pre-existing conditions.
He also criticized Donald Trump's proposal to cut to $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health budget and praised Congress for deciding to increase the organization's funding by $2 billion instead. The proposed cuts would have affected children and funding for children's hospitals, Kimmel said.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," he said. "I think that's something that whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?"
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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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