Yesterday, ESPN ran a feature story on NFL star Charles Tillman and his young daughter’s fight to survive a deadly undetected heart muscle disease called Cardiomyopathy.
During the interview, Tillman and his wife Jackie ,discuss the pain and sorrow they endured while having to watch their daughter Tianna use an experimental artificial heart device to live while waiting for a heart transplant.
Chicago Bears star cornerback Charles Tillman is a force to be reckoned with on the football field. But, when his baby girl, Tiana, was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness in 2008, there wasn’t much he and his wife, Jackie, could do to defend their daughter.
Born February 11, 2008, Tiana weighed a healthy 7 pounds, 5 ounces at birth. But, three months later, Tiana’s health took a turn for the worse. “She stopped eating, and she was screaming and really acting different,” Jackie says. “That is the day that everything kind of went downhill.”
Jackie took action to get Tiana the care she needed—Tiana was life-flighted to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Charles says he got the earth-shattering news while at football practice. “Coach [Lovie] Smith came over to me, and he told me that Tiana was sick, and she was being rushed to the hospital,” Charles says.