IOWA CITY, Iowa — Bridgette Bissell and her twin sister, Madeline, were born prematurely, each weighing 1.5 pounds at birth. Madeline died shortly after they were born. Bridgette was born with retinopathy of prematurity and had surgery to help correct it while still in the neonatal intensive care unit in Texas, where her family lived. The family moved to Iowa when Bridgette was 1 year old and she began seeing ophthalmologists and members of the developmental pediatrics team at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Her family moved away when she was 3 but returned to Iowa 10 years later.
Bridgette became very ill in 2019 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which caused pain so severe she was in a wheelchair, and she had to have a feeding tube placed in 2020. In addition, Bridgette has autism and struggles with sensory overload, anxiety, and sometimes is not able to articulate her strong feelings.
Read Bridgette’s story here.