To the Comedians Who Brought Us More Than Laughs in 2017

Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan, and Jimmy Kimmel,

I would hug you if I could. And tell you I’m sorry. Both of your families received news this year that no one wants to hear. You’ve been living the nightmare of most and the reality of others.

From those of us who are also living your reality, let me say thank you.

Jimmy Kimmel, thank you for bringing awareness to congenital heart disease. You’ve given a voice to the 40,000 babies born each year in the United States with CHD. Your raw and open candor about your son Billy’s health connected us and other parents fighting daily beside our children. You opened dialogue and brought attention to the shortcomings of our current healthcare system. It must not have been easy to bare that part of your daddy heart on national television, but I thank you for it. The bravery of you and little Billy is inspiring.

Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan, thank you for sharing your tube-feed video with the world. Tube-feeds have been an unexpected and sometimes isolating challenge with our daughter’s health. When we saw your video, we felt less alone. You lifted a burden. You connected with us in an area of our lives where we felt frustrated and disconnected. You shed light on an aspect of many of our lives that’s often not seen or talked about. You reminded us to find joy and humor in our new normal.

Your comedy has long brought giggles and belly laughs to our home. More often than I can count, your jokes have made us laugh until we cried. But in 2017, the tears came from more than your jokes — they came from the genuine bond felt as you shared your experiences.

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