Jeremy Bird and Betsy Hoover, veterans of the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns, lost their first child, Elijah, after his premature birth last week. “We are devastated and heart broken,” Bird wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. “We miss him more than we ever thought possible.”
“He really was beautiful. He had his dad’s nose, his mom’s mouth and even a little bit of hair. He was 11 inches long and weighed one pound, one ounce. He was precious, innocent, remarkable,” Bird said. “Unfortunately, Elijah came too soon. His lungs weren’t yet formed, and he was just not able to survive on his own. We lost our baby boy.”
Bird served as the national field director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign; Hoover was the campaign’s director of digital organizing. Bird was named by Rolling Stone as one of “The Obama Campaign’s Real Heroes” in a 2012 election recap.
They both now work at 270 Strategies, a consulting firm that Bird co-founded with Mitch Stewart, another Obama veteran. The firm signed on last summer to assist the group Ready for Hillary in laying the foundation for a Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.
Many people had asked how they could help after Elijah’s death, Bird wrote in his Facebook post. So he and Hoover are requesting donations to Enroll America, the non-profit group that has coordinated a national effort to enroll people in health coverage under Obamacare.
“During this time, we have been so grateful for the great healthcare we received and for our insurance that has allowed us to get that care without ever asking if we could afford it,” he wrote.
“Enroll America is doing the important work necessary to get Americans enrolled. If you are looking for a way to show your support, we ask that you donate in our names and in the name of our son, Elijah.”
A new page featuring Bird and Hoover on GetCoveredAmerica.org, the online home for Enroll America’s enrollment campaign, also asks supporters to donate to the group in lieu of flowers or other gifts.
“All of our thoughts and prayers are with Jeremy and Betsy during this heartbreaking time,” Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, told TPM in a statement. “Many of us at Enroll America chose this work because we have our own deeply personal stories about the critical role that healthcare has played in our and our families’ lives.”
“We are incredibly moved and honored that Jeremy and Betsy have chosen to highlight that work in memory of their son, Elijah. I know I speak for everyone here when I say we will work every day to make sure that when other families come face-to-face with similar heartbreak, their focus can be on health and healing above all else.”