Meet JoJo, 1, from Whitefish Bay

JoJo as one of Medicaid's faces

Joel, or JoJo, was born in 2015 with congenital cataracts – a rare eye condition. In addition, he was born with undescended testicles as well as an internal double hernia.

Thankfully, his cataracts were detected at his first pediatric visit at 4 days old and he was referred to Children's Eye Clinic. Many tests were performed and JoJo had surgery on both of his eyes at 11 and 12 weeks old. Without this cataract surgery, JoJo would be blind. Last December, Children's Urology Department performed surgery on JoJo to treat his testicles and hernias.

Shortly after the eye surgery, JoJo developed glaucoma, a common condition for children with cataracts. He underwent two glaucoma surgeries and tubes were placed in his eyes. Because of the many surgeries JoJo had, he lost weight and his appetite decreased. He wasn't getting sufficient nutrients to keep him healthy, so JoJo underwent surgery for a feeding tube placement last September.

Now, JoJo is enrolled in a Birth to 3 program, works with a speech, occupational and physical therapist and a vision teacher. He wears specialized infant contacts which have significantly improved his vision, however they're extremely expensive—about $500 for one pair. JoJo's high-calorie, hypoallergenic formula and medical equipment for his feeding tube isn't covered through private insurance, so Katie Beckett insurance is extremely helpful for the Malacrida family.

Despite all his challenges and obstacles, JoJo is a happy and feisty baby, always on the move! He has fun at his sensory music class with Vision Forward, loves other children (especially his big sister!) and enjoys climbing and exploring.

"We are blessed to live near Children's. I consider our family lucky to have insurance and Katie Beckett coverage in order to help make care for JoJo more accessible and affordable for our family."

Please keep Medicaid strong for kids like JoJo!