Later today, Chicago Bears player Charles Tillman will speak to lawmakers in Washington, DC about the Berlin Heart, the device that saved his daughter Tiana’s life last year.
“I felt it was my duty to do it,” Tillman said. “For everything [Tiana] went through and the other recipients go through, this is the least that I can do. Flying to Washington, staying in a nice hotel and speaking to [lawmakers] is easy considering what they’ve done.”
In May of last year, doctors discovered that a then three-month-old Tiana had an enlarged heart, a condition known as cardiomyopathy, which prevented Tiana’s heart from pumping blood through out her body. Doctors told Charles that his daughter wouldn’t survive without a heart transplant; finding a transplant would take months. So doctors recommended the Berlin Heart, an interim heart that is not FDA-approved.
Tiana is now 18-months-old and appears to be in good health.
“She’s loving life,” Tillman said. “She’s a typical toddler, other than doing the meds. That’s for the rest of her life, but I can work with that as long as we’ve got her.”