DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Rick Santorum and his wife Karen admitted their youngest daughter, Bella, to a Philadelphia hospital this evening.
The 3-year-old suffers from the rare, but serious genetic condition Trisomy 18, which kills about 90 percent of children before or during birth.
The campaign did not immediately know how serious Bella’s condition is, but Hogan Gidley, Santorum Communications Director told ABC News “even a cold is not a good thing.” She’s been admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The former Pennsylvania senator often talks about his daughter on the campaign trail. He says Bella did have multiple hospital visits her first year, including an incident so serious that Karen, a former neo-natal nurse, was able to intervene and perform CPR on Bella and rush her to the hospital in time.
Santorum has said that was the last time Bella was in the hospital, a point of pride that usually brings down the house when he tells audiences on the trail.
The Santorums also tell the story of when Bella was first born, because of the gravity of her condition, they would have birthday parties daily, then weekly for Bella as she got better, to celebrate her life.
For the first time since Christmas Day, Santorum was not campaigning today, instead returning to his home state of Pennsylvania for a fundraiser Friday night. He was supposed to have another fundraiser this evening in Virginia, where he now lives with his family. He was also planning on retrieving his tax returns from his his home computer in Virginia today.
The campaign has canceled Santorum’s appearance at a Miami church Sunday morning, but as of late tonight they are still keeping his afternoon events in Sarasota and Punta Gorda on the schedule.
“Rick intends to return to Florida and resume the campaign schedule as soon as is possible,” Gidley said in a statement.
Santorum has been plagued by rumors recently that he will get out of the race despite consistently saying he will be in the campaign for the “long haul.” Gidley said that this pause in the campaigning has absolutely nothing to do with any rumors and said Santorum is not dropping out.
He told reporters in Pennsylvania Friday that he planned to stay in the race “a long, long, long time.”
Bella was with the family in Iowa in the summer when Santorum was campaigning and more recently in South Carolina. Although due to her condition she does not appear with the family in crowds.