I sold my business and switched careers prior to my daughter’s birth. I had just separated from her father and was working from home trying to build my clientele in my new job. She was born and, like any mother, I was naturally so happy and proud to have this new person in my life. I named her Tatiana. Unfortunately, Tatiana was born without formed vocal cords…her air passage was totally blocked. My daughter couldn’t cry, she couldn’t even breathe. The doctors took her away immediately and discovered a laryngeal web preventing her from breathing as most people do.

Usually, this web disappears in the womb…but it didn’t for Tatiana. She was breathing from a tube inserted in her trachea. Even when Tatiana was well enough to come home with me, she needed constant care those first few years. I was a single mother at the time and I quit my job to stay home with my daughter and give her the care she needed to survive. I fought with my insurance company to give me any relief at all, and finally they acquiesced and provided a home healthcare nurse so that I could sleep through the night.

We were still in and out of the hospital regularly. Tatiana endured 21 surgeries before she was 10 months old. She grew, against the odds, and lived long enough so that doctors could open her airway. The procedure left her paralyzed for eight days in the hospital. Every couple of weeks thereafter, Tatiana and I returned to the hospital for more procedures and surgeries that prevented new scar tissue from forming and blocking her airway again. Finally, after months of procedures, my daughter’s breathing tube was removed. Even though Tatiana had been out of the womb for nearly a year…I finally heard her voice for the very first time.

My self-paid insurance premium at that time was nearly $700 a month. Between the medical bills and the fact that I cared for my child instead of working, I lost my home and was reluctantly forced to declare bankruptcy. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t hesitate.

Today, thankfully, my daughter is alive and well. She has recently graduated from UCLA and I am very proud of all she has accomplished. We survived. I will not apologize for that bankruptcy nor the unhappy events and circumstances surrounding it. Americans every day struggle to provide for their families and their children. My daughter—her life, my relationship with her—that’s what matters to me.

Like most families, my life’s journey has had its ups and downs. As a now happily married wife, mother and successful businesswoman, I believe it is the conglomeration of my life’s experiences that make me the uniquely qualified candidate to represent you, the people of Congressional District 3.

~ Victoria