Follow Us:      
 
 
 
 
Tillman Heads to Washington D.C. to Discuss Berlin Heart
Posted By:  Courtney Boeckman
Monday, October 26, 2009

Click here to read the article featured on the Chicago Bears website. 

blogLAKE FOREST, Ill. – When Charles Tillman was asked to speak to some members of the United States Congress about the Berlin Heart, the Bears cornerback didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation. A year ago, the revolutionary device kept his infant daughter, Tiana, alive while she awaited a heart transplant that saved her life.

Tillman will travel today to Washington, where he’ll speak on Tuesday at a luncheon in a congressional meeting room at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center. The event will highlight medical technologies that are helping to lower health care costs and improve the quality of life for patients with cardiovascular disease.

The presentation is being hosted by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the American College of Cardiology and Mended Hearts, a support group that helps heart-disease patients and their families.

Tillman will be one of three speakers. There are expected to be 60-80 people in attendance, including some members of Congress.

“I felt it was my duty to do it,” Tillman said. “For everything [Tiana] went through and the other recipients go through, this is the least that I can do. Flying to Washington, staying in a nice hotel and speaking to [lawmakers] is easy considering what they’ve done.” 

Tillman had been participating in an OTA practice in June 2008 when Bears coach Lovie Smith pulled him off the field and delivered some alarming news: his newborn daughter was being rushed via helicopter to Children’s Memorial Hospital with a serious heart ailment.

A battery of tests revealed that Tiana was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart to weaken and enlarge, disabling the heart’s pumping system. It’s a condition that affects roughly 1 in 100,000 children in the United States.

While awaiting a donor heart, doctors bought more time for Tiana in late July by installing the Berlin Heart, a ventricular assist device that takes over the pumping action of the heart. In performing the eight-hour operation, Children’s Memorial became the first hospital in Illinois to use the Berlin Heart.

“The Berlin Heart represents medical technology that potentially can be an option and prolong life for our patients who are in the most dire need of a heart transplant,” Dr. Carl L. Backer, surgical director of Heart Transplantation at Children’s Memorial, later explained.

The Berlin Heart was first implanted in 1991 and first used in the United States in 2000. It sits outside the chest, with finely calibrated catheters that are placed within the heart and attached to two pumps. The system bypasses the heart by taking blood from inside the heart and pumping it to the lungs and body.

“We knew the Berlin Heart could extend the patient’s life significantly, and in this case, it also strengthened the child for transplantation,” Dr. Jeffrey G. Gossett, attending physician for the Division of Cardiology at Children’s Memorial, later said.

A few days after Tiana received the Berlin Heart, doctors phoned Tillman to inform him that a donor heart had been located. The transplant was performed, and Tiana has thrived. She must take medication for the rest of her life, but she is an otherwise healthy, normal 18-month-old.

“She’s loving life,” Tillman said. “She’s a typical toddler, other than doing the meds. That’s for the rest of her life, but I can work with that as long as we’ve got her.”



 
 
Subscribe To Our Blog

Blog Categories

  • Charity Events
  • Charles Tillman
    • 05/08/2014 - Hometown names street in Tillm
    • 04/07/2014 - Tillman fans can receive box o
    • 03/27/2014 - Tillman sure he will play in 2
    • 03/27/2014 - Tillman re-signs with the Bear
    • 03/27/2014 - Tillman gives Super Bowl ticke
    • 03/27/2014 - Tillman delivers a 'Charles' L
    • 03/27/2014 - Tillman 5K Run/Walk being held
    • 03/27/2014 - Inaugural Charles Tillman 5K R
    • 03/26/2014 - Chicago Bears Cornerback Charl
    • 03/26/2014 - Charles Tillman’s 4th Annual M
    • 03/26/2014 - Charles Tillman named Player o
    • 03/26/2014 - Celebrity Waiter Night a big h
    • 02/08/2014 - Tillman featured in NFL Charac
    • 01/31/2014 - Tillman Hosting 5K Race to Be
    • 01/26/2014 - Tillman Appears on TV with Pay
    • 01/20/2014 - Tillman a Finalist for 2013 NF
    • 01/17/2014 - Tillman takes kids shopping at
    • 01/10/2014 - Tillman appears on United King
    • 01/09/2014 - Tillman not worried about foot
    • 12/30/2013 - Tillman named Bears' nominee f
    • 12/12/2013 - 8 Reasons Charles 'Peanut' Til
    • 12/10/2013 - Charles Tillman Shops for Need
    • 12/04/2013 - Tillman supports USO Illinois
    • 12/02/2013 - Tillman delivers Thanksgiving
    • 11/26/2013 - Francie Paul feels kinship wit
    • 11/12/2013 - Tillman injured in loss to Lio
    • 10/31/2013 - Tillman supports Breast Cancer
    • 10/29/2013 - Charles Tillman: A True Sports
    • 10/24/2013 - Tillman supports Needy Family
    • 10/10/2013 - Tillman's Benefit to Fund Two
    • 10/02/2013 - Tillman shares inspirational s
    • 09/26/2013 - Celebrity Waiter Night a can’t
    • 09/25/2013 - The Montgomery Club and Chicag
    • 09/24/2013 - Tillman joins Lance Briggs on
    • 09/18/2013 - Transplant Recipient Inspired
    • 09/10/2013 - Tillman Intercepts Two Passes
    • 08/06/2013 - An Exclusive Insider Look at C
    • 07/31/2013 - Tillman on the ball at trainin
    • 07/24/2013 - Inspired by Blackhawks, Tillma
    • 07/18/2013 - Charles Tillman Expects the Ch
    • 07/18/2013 - Bears' Tillman We're not in a
    • 06/24/2013 - Bears cornerback Charles Tillm
    • 06/18/2013 - Tillman ranked 34th best playe
    • 06/07/2013 - Tillman's ProBOWLer benefit a
    • 04/24/2013 - Tillman wins third Brian Picco
    • 04/04/2013 - Tillman supports heart organiz
    • 04/03/2013 - Tillman's 33 interceptions by
    • 03/28/2013 - Tillman Donating $3,000 grant
    • 03/21/2013 - Breaking down Tillman's 39 for
    • 03/20/2013 - Fencik appreciates Tillman's b
    • 03/05/2013 - What did '03 draft guides say
    • 02/27/2013 - Vikings coach calls Tillman "a
    • 02/20/2013 - Tillman's character drew Golde
    • 02/13/2013 - Bears 9-0 when Tillman scores
    • 02/04/2013 - Tillman wins Salute to Service
    • 01/31/2013 - Tillman: Pro Bowl gives servic
    • 01/30/2013 - Outside the Game: Daughter’s i
    • 01/25/2013 - Tillman enjoying Pro Bowl expe
    • 01/23/2013 - Tillman a finalist for Byron "
    • 01/22/2013 - Tillman chosen captain of All-
    • 01/15/2013 - Tillman a finalist for Salute
    • 01/10/2013 - Tillman earns prestigious NFL
    • 01/09/2013 - Tillman reacts to Lovie Smith'
    • 01/03/2013 - Tillman nominated for NFL Man
    • 12/28/2012 - Tillman voted to Pro Bowl for
    • 12/26/2012 - Another touchdown
    • 12/24/2012 - Tillman talks about Cardinals
    • 12/20/2012 - Charles Tillman Brings Christm
    • 12/19/2012 - Charles Tillman Answers Fans Q
    • 12/14/2012 - Charles on the Radio
    • 12/12/2012 - Charles Tillman Returns Back t
    • 12/06/2012 - Charles Tillman's Holiday Cele
    • 11/30/2012 - The Story Behind the Peanut Pu
    • 11/26/2012 - Tillman Pro Bowl Voting
    • 11/26/2012 - Peanut to Answer Fan Questions
    • 11/21/2012 - Members of '85 Bears impressed
    • 11/19/2012 - Tillman Stood Out From the Sta
    • 11/14/2012 - Tillman & Foundation Receive R
    • 11/09/2012 - Charles & Jackie presented wit
    • 11/09/2012 - BEARS CORNERBACK CHARLES TILLM
    • 11/08/2012 - Tillman bringing smiles to kid
    • 10/30/2012 - Photo Gallery from Charles Til
    • 10/26/2012 - Charles Tillman Returns Home t
    • 10/16/2012 - Chicago Bears Cornerback Charl
    • 05/19/2012 - Fifth Third Bank & Chicago Bea
    • 05/01/2012 - Charles Tillman’s Celebrity Pr
    • 04/18/2012 - Charles Tillman in "The Heart
    • 04/04/2012 - Charles' Locker Featured in th
    • 01/22/2012 - Charles Tillman is a Finalist
    • 12/08/2011 - Chicago Bear Brings Christmas
    • 12/06/2011 - Photo Gallery from Charles Til
    • 10/17/2011 - Charles Tillman's Celebrity Se
    • 10/15/2011 - Charles Named One of the Top 5
    • 07/20/2011 - Tillman Honors Mothers with Te
    • 07/18/2011 - Mixin' It Up With Charles
    • 07/15/2011 - Bears’ Tillman Scores with Sic
    • 06/24/2011 - Charles Tillman 5th Annual Mei
    • 06/16/2011 - Tillman Announces Celebrity Dr
    • 04/20/2011 - Tillman Family on Oprah
    • 04/15/2011 - Fans Suit Up with NFL Stars at
    • 02/28/2011 - Charles Tillman receives Fifth
    • 02/18/2011 - Charles Tillman Named to Bears
    • 12/14/2010 - Tillman Spreads Cheer with Hol
    • 12/13/2010 - Tillman's Celebrity Steak-Out
    • 11/15/2010 - Join Charles Tillman's Celebri
    • 10/13/2010 - Tillman Unveils Unique Locker
    • 09/20/2010 - Chicago Bears Turned in Their
    • 08/24/2010 - Charles Tillman and Friends Ce
    • 06/25/2010 - Tillman’s 4th Annual Meijer Ce
    • 06/16/2010 - Tillman Announces Celebrity Qu
    • 06/01/2010 - Meet Charles at Meijer June 2n
    • 05/24/2010 - Fifth Third Bank Welcomes Char
    • 12/22/2009 - Charles Unveils Two Unique Loc
    • 12/22/2009 - Charles Spreads Holiday Cheer
    • 12/09/2009 - Charles and his Family on CBS
    • 11/02/2009 - Charles Tillman Celebrity Stea
    • 10/26/2009 - Tillman Heads to Washington D.
  • Cornerstone Foundation

Tag Cloud