I can’t put into words the honor Mira Raetherthat we feel to be representing Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at the National Association of Children’s Hospital’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. For the last five years, insurance coverage and health care have played a critical role in our lives and far too many families face the same obstacles.

In 2005, we became proud parents of triplets. At 30 weeks gestation, I gave birth to two boys and one girl. Shortly after birth, our daughter Mira was diagnosed with renal acidosis. In simple terms, her kidneys weren’t doing their job. Mira was on dialysis nightly for two and half years before she received a kidney transplant from our neighbor, who was a match.

Today, we are one-year post-transplant and Mira has exhausted our private insurance by hitting the lifetime max benefit. Currently, Medicare covers kidney transplant patients for 36 months following a transplant. She is a prime example of why pre-existing conditions need to be dropped and lifetime caps removed.

Children’s Hospital has played such an important part in our lives. The care they provide doesn’t stop with the patient – they also have supported Mira’s brothers, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles and my husband and I. The hospital truly is an asset to the Milwaukee area and we want to make sure our legislators in Washington know that. Support for hospitals that specialize in children is a necessity.

By the time you read this, I already will have packed five suitcases and be boarding a plane heading to D.C. The kids are so excited. We’ll keep you posted on how our visit goes. We’re looking forward to representing children’s hospitals all across the nation!

-Sheryl Raether, mom and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin representative at Advocacy Day 2010.

Visit the Children’s Hospital’s Family Advocacy Day website to learn more about this yearly event, held in Washington, D.C. Also, learn more about Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s own Child Advocacy Network (C.A.N.) and what you can do from here at home to help children at chw.org/can.

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