PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Kim Francis, of Squirrel Hill, was surprised when she and her parents, Judy and Mike Sparlin, were invited to hear the president and vice president speak at CCAC on Wednesday.
But that was just the start.
“The President was on stage, and we got a tap on the back, and one of his aides said come with us, come with us,” Francis told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Francis and her parents were led through the crowd to a private room to meet President Obama.
“He walks in the room, larger than life. It was just incredible to see him and Vice President Biden,” said Francis.
Her reaction at the unexpected meeting?
“Total surprise,” she said. “We were stunned.”
So, why was this married woman with two young children singled out?
Two years ago, Francis was diagnosed with breast cancer and her inadequate health insurance left her $30,000 in debt until she got a better and more affordable policy under Obamacare.
Her mother decided to tell the President.
“My mother wrote the letter. As moms do, they worry, and she was so grateful and she’d seen what we’d been through,” said Francis. “She’d seen the difference that the Affordable Care Act had made in our lives, and so she sat down and wrote a letter, explaining it all.”
Francis said the President asked about her situation and she started to cry in front of him.
“When I was telling him this, I teared up because it has been a rough few years and the emotions of being diagnosed with cancer and having to fight financial battles and the stress of worrying about how we were going to pay was overwhelming,” she recalled. “He gave me a hug, just like fatherly hug.”
Francis says she’s waiting for the official White House photos of the meeting – and remains grateful.
“I have peace of mind for myself, for my kids. It has really changed everything,” she added.