Statement by Senator Toomey in the Congressional Record:
Today I wish to honor Delaware County's Janet Murnaghan, who will be receiving the Women of Achievement Award from the Delaware County Women's Commission on March 11. Mrs. Murnaghan was chosen as an awardee for representing women of Delaware County in an extraordinary way, specifically by displaying incredible thoughtfulness, persistence and passion in caring for her daughter, Sarah.
It was my privilege to nominate Janet for this accolade in celebration of Women's History Month. Janet, her husband, Fran, and I first met 2 years ago at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Their daughter was battling cystic fibrosis and was in dire need of new lungs to save her young life. Though their daughter, Sarah, would have likely ranked near the top of the donor list for a new lung because of her medical need, a Federal policy prevented children under the age of 12 from being considered for mature lungs until all adult candidates in the region were ruled out. Sarah faced long odds at receiving a lifesaving transplant due to the short supply of pediatric donors. This obstacle would not stop Janet and the Murnaghan family. Sarah's mother took the fight to social media, to national TV and eventually directly to then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Janet argued that children under age 12 should be considered for adult lung transplants using the same criteria as adults as long as doctors demonstrated the operation's viability.
The Murnaghan family was eventually forced to pursue legal action to prevent Secretary Sebelius from enforcing the under-12 rule. Even in the most difficult moments, Mrs. Murnaghan remained levelheaded and resilient. Her determination was rewarded as a Federal judge issued a temporary restraining order, allowing young Sarah to receive the lifesaving transplant. While the first set of lungs failed due to their poor quality, the second set was perfect. Sarah is now breathing on her own, bike riding with her siblings, and has already returned to school.
Janet and Sarah could not declare victory just yet. Though there was success in Sarah's specific case, the rule preventing children from receiving adult lungs was still in place. Last summer, thanks to Janet Murnaghan and other advocates, the transplant network permanently revised the under-12 policy. Without Janet taking a leadership role on behalf of her daughter and children across the Nation, this policy might not have been changed. She has certainly set herself apart as a woman of achievement.
On behalf of the Senate, I wish to extend my compliments to my friend, Janet Murnaghan, as she receives this much-deserved, prestigious award.