Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Joe Sestak's Daughter Had a Brain Tumor

The Hill:

Sitting in the oncology ward at Children’s National Medical Center on Jan. 19, retired Adm. Joe Sestak and his wife, Susan, awaited the doctors’ verdict about the condition of their 5-year-old daughter, Alexandra.

She had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last summer and given three to nine months to live. The Sestaks lived for four months in the ward. They watched as their daughter survived three surgeries, and as she endured chemotherapy.

But that winter day, doctors told the Sestaks that Alexandra had done remarkably well and that, although the cancer could reemerge, she could resume living like a healthy girl.

Relieved and grateful, Sestak, who retired as a three-star admiral Jan. 1, after 31 years in the Navy, began thinking about what he wanted to do next.

What does Crazy Curt Weldon say about it?

Weldon attacked Sestak’s decision to continue owning a home in Virginia while only renting in Pennsylvania and questioned why Sestak did not move back to Pennsylvania when he was working at the Pentagon. Weldon commutes from Pennsylvania each day.

Weldon also suggested Sestak should have sent his daughter to a hospital in Philadelphia or Delaware, rather than the Washington hospital. Sestak said that as soon as doctors give his daughter the all-clear, he’ll buy in Pennsylvania.

Here's Sestak's response:

Congressman Weldon's remarks to the Hill magazine in a story published this morning regarding my daughter Alex's treatment are inappropriate. To imply, that I should have sent my daughter to a hospital in Delaware or Pennsylvania for political purposes is beyond the pale.

I understand the political arena. I knew that this campaign would thrust my family into the media spotlight and we are prepared for that. But I want to make it very clear to Congressman Weldon, that any remarks regarding my daughter, Alexandra's, treatment will not be tolerated.

Like many families dealing with illness, we have had our challenges in the last year. Through the grace of God, the many prayers of our friends and family, and the wonderful doctors and nurses, we have made it through this experience with our daughter Alex, who continues to inspire us everyday.

Though we recognize the important work done by the many hospitals in and around Philadelphia, it was our personal choice to have Alex treated in Washington at the Children's Hospital because of its outstanding work on pediatric brain tumors. This decision was based on many things – none of which were political.

This was our choice as Alex's parents and as I have said publicly, I believe these medical choices should be left in the hands of parents and family members throughout the country and not in the hands of beauracrats, special interests and especially not in the hands of politicians like Curt Weldon.

The article makes clear that Weldon plans to use the tried and true "smear the Vet" Swift Boat campaign.

With that, Joe Sestak joins the Eschaton community list.