TV Host Jimmy Kimmel has a lot to be thankful for as he celebrates his son Billy’s fifth birthday.
The dad-of-four posted a tribute to his Instagram page, stating he was ‘eternally grateful’ for the chance to celebrate such a millstone with his youngest who was born with a congenital heart condition.
“Happy 5th birthday to our little nut. We are eternally grateful to the brilliant doctors and nurses at @ChildrensLA and @CedarsSinai for saving Billy’s life and to those of you whose donations, prayers and positive thoughts meant everything, “he wrote alongside a photo of Billy about to blow out his birthday cake candles.
Just hours after Billy was born he was taken to NICU as nurses noticed something wasn’t right with the little boy. Doctors then quickly diagnosed him with Tetralogy of Fallot / VSD – congenital heart defects.
This condition develops when the heart or blood vessels do not form correctly in utero.
According to AIHWit’s estimated 2,400 babies born are affected by congenital heart disease in Australia each year and globally around nine in every 1,000 babies born.
When Billy was just three days old doctors at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles performed heart surgery on him. In his first three years of life he had to undergo another two heart surgeries and attend over 60 doctors appointments.
During the 2020 United States election, Kimmel shared never before photos and videos of Billy’s time in hospital with viewers of his show in an attempt to convince them to vote against Donald Trump and support medical policy that covers people born with pre-existing conditions such as Billy’s.
“Families go broke trying to keep their loved ones alive. We are raising [Billy] top fight for less fortunate kids, “he wrote in the powerful clip played on his talk show and shared over a million times online.
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In his birthday tribute, Kimmel also directed his followers to a link to support children in need at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, “Please support families who need medical care.”
Workers at the hospital took to the post to wish the little boy a Happy Birthday and thank Kimmel for the awareness he brings to the condition.
“Happy birthday Billy! May all your dreams come true. As one of the cardiologists at CHLA, we are so grateful for the awareness of congenital heart disease that has come from sharing Billy’s story,” one wrote.
Fans also took a moment to send through birthday wishes, “Precious sweet boy! Happy birthday.”
The talk show host shares son William ‘Billy’ John with wife Molly McNearney as well as seven-year-old daughter Jane. He is also a father to Kevin and Kate, two older children from a previous relationship.
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