Jimmy Kimmel captured the hearts of millions Monday night when he shared the emotional story of his newborn son’s medical issues. Only hours after he was born, Kimmel’s son was diagnosed with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot.
Kimmel also brought on a certain Olympic snowboarder who gave him some hope through the whole ordeal.
“When we were told that this operation was going to be happening, everyone told us, ‘Shaun White had this!’” Kimmel explained to White on his show.
White started his career as a professional athlete at the age of 13 and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist with 23 X-Games medals. As a baby, the athlete was diagnosed with the same condition and had the same operation as Kimmel’s son, William John.
“Similar situation, I was just slowly turning blue and my parents knew something was up,” White told the late-night host. “The doctors came in and found out that was the scenario, the heart condition.”
From the time he was born, the 30-year-old has had three surgeries and has to undergo stress tests with his doctor every few years. White says he was fortunate enough to not have needed an artificial valve, which would eventually need to be replaced.
Thankfully for White, his parents gave him the freedom to be physical and explore sports despite his condition. And now he’s in training for his fourth Olympic run in Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“Well, you know I have to tell to tell you, whether you realize it or not, you are an inspiration to a lot of families who go through this situation,” Kimmel told White.
“It makes me believe that my son, too, is going to win Olympic gold medals for the United States of America,” he continued.