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Abby Wood

In 2021, Abby Wood and her husband Chase learned at a 16-week prenatal scan that their son, Landry, had a heart defect. The diagnosis was gut-wrenching to a family who was grieving from the loss of their first-born son who similarly had medical complications. But backed by a supportive team of clinicians, Abby was prepared to fight for the health of her family. 


Immediately, the Wood family faced a long road ahead, as Landry was expected to need at least three surgeries to repair his heart. But after the second surgery, doctors were not seeing enough progress. At only four months old, Landry was dying and in desperate need of a heart transplant. Miraculously, through the generosity of another family and the skill of his care team, Landry received a new heart and, with it, the prospect of a full life. 


Abby’s and Chase’s joy gave way to terror when TennCare terminated Landry’s coverage. Abby could not understand how this happened. After all, she promptly submitted a TennCare renewal packet and, again, promptly responded to requests for proof of income. TennCare sent a notice acknowledging that it did receive proof of income for the parents, yet in that same letter, it purported that it did not receive proof of income for the children. This was Abby’s nightmare. Without TennCare, Landry could not get the anti-rejection medication that he needed to protect his new heart, so getting his coverage back quickly became a matter of life-and-death. 


Abby’s fight to get her family re-enrolled was terrifying and overwhelming. Abby repeatedly called TennCare to file emergency appeals but only received more conflicting information. Two weeks went by with no resolution, so Landry’s pediatrician sent them to the Tennessee Justice Center. Within 48 hours, TJC helped get Landry’s insurance reinstated, and he has since been able to resume receiving critical medical treatments.  


Now, the Wood family can return to their typical, active lifestyle. Abby says her life largely revolves around her kids, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Growing up, Abby played basketball, and later she met her husband Chase who too had a love for the sport. On weekends, you can find the couple shuttling their kids to various sporting events and athletic tournaments across Tennessee. Abby says it her pleasure to watch her children develop their own love for sports and that she cherishes “being able to watch [her] kids grow and become their own individual person.”   


The Wood family represents the thousands of families on TennCare whose lives have been disrupted by a renewal process riddled with flaws. Abby stayed steadfast in her fight for her children’s health care just as TJC remains committed to advocating for all TennCare beneficiaries. TennCare has cut off over 200,000 Tennessee children and adults over the past year as a result of its broken system. That’s why TJC has pursued a class action seeking more safeguards for those, like Landry, whose very lives are on the line. TJC is privileged to stand with devoted parents like Abby Wood and proud to recognize her as a 2024 Mother of the Year for her dedication to her family's health and her advocacy for others.  

Photography by John St. Clair

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