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Jessica Fox

Jessica and her husband, Sean, were blessed with three children: Carter (9), Claire (4), and Charli (3).

Their daughter, Claire, was born with heart deformities, and at less than a week old, she went through open heart surgery. Soon after this, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome, Cri Du Chat, which results in physical and intellectual disabilities.

Claire immediately started therapies and had additional surgeries, which were covered through TennCare; however, before Claire turned 2, her parents were notified that she was losing her TennCare because they were over-income. Jessica and Sean had to discontinue Claire’s therapy because their private insurance only covers 50 visits a year. They also had to begin paying co-pays for the 18 specialists and medical supplies Claire requires. Jessica said, “I knew with everything inside of me that this was just wrong.”

Jessica quickly learned that all states except TN have a version of the Katie Beckett Waiver, which allows children with complex medical needs access to Medicaid coverage, regardless of their parents’ incomes. With the support of TJC and partners like the TN Disability Coalition, she and Sean contacted legislators, shared their story with the press, and attended disability day on the hill to advocate for Tennessee to adopt the Katie Beckett waiver. Thanks to their efforts, and the advocacy of other parents in similar situations, a Katie Beckett bill continues to advance in the legislature.

Jessica will not stop fighting until a bill has been passed that provides support to all families in TN that need it. “We’re not going away. Our kids are little, and they need help. They need it now”.

For her dedication to her family, and for her ceaseless advocacy for children with disabilities across Tennessee, we are happy to honor Jessica as one of our 2019 Mothers of the Year.

Photo Credit: Alex Kent

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