August 23, 2019

‘Roseanne’ Star Sarah Chalke on Raising a Son with Rare Illness of Blood Vessels

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Sarah Chalk, best known as Rebecca Conner-Healy on "Roseanne," has two children. Her son, Charlie, was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease when he was two years old.

She and her partner, Jamie Afifi, have been together since 2003. The couple has been engaged since 2006 when Jamie, an entertainment lawyer, surprised her and proposed during a Hawaiian vacation.



Even though it's been more than a decade since he popped the question, they have not tied the knot yet. However, they welcomed two children together: Charlie Rhodes on December 24, 2009, and Frances on April 28, 2016.

In an interview with People, Sarah admitted that her children were very different human beings and that even though parenting a boy and a girl was "cool," it was not the way she imagined her life as a mother.


“When I initially found out I was pregnant the first time, I just assumed it was going to be a girl because I come from all girls. I was thinking like, ‘A boy? What do you do with a boy? I don’t know how to do that.’“

Although Sarah thought she would never have a boy, she cannot picture herself without having a boy nowadays. The actress pointed out she loves his Lego structures, lightsaber and water balloon fights, and ice hockey.



Unfortunately, Charlie was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease when he was only two years old. The situation was worse than what people might imagine as the boy kept being misdiagnosed, and the clock kept ticking.

According to Mayo Clinic, Kawasaki disease is an illness that primarily affects children, and it causes "inflammation in the walls of medium-sized arteries throughout the body." If not treated properly and on time, it can lead to developing heart disease.


Children with the previously mentioned illness have to get treatment during the first 10 days. Otherwise, the risk of heart disease increases. Even though Charlie got the procedure on the 10th day, he is okay.

Her ordeal with Charlie’s illness made her look for ways to educate other parents about Kawasaki disease.



In 2013, Sarah got the opportunity to play Casey Hedges in "Grey's Anatomy." Casey was the mother of a boy with Kawasaki disease. Even though the show didn’t depict her story, it was inspired by it.

When she was offered the role, she doubted about accepting it or not as she knew it would be "tough." Thankfully, the actress took it, and it became her way of helping other parents and children who are going through that difficult situation.


During an interview with the Huffington Post, Sarah confessed that the biggest goal with the episode, titled “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” was to raise awareness about the disease as only a few people know about it.

Apart from that, she admitted that every “Kawasaki experience” is different and that each parent has their own way to approach their child’s disease. However, the prevailing feeling is that their kid is “really sick” with something they don’t know, but it is “bigger than a virus.”


The actress confessed to People that it was the “most challenging thing” she did throughout her career at that point and that the outcome was great. Sarah also pointed out that “Can’t Fight This Feeling” gave parents the message that they have to fight and advocate for their children.

“Whether it’s [Kawasaki disease] or something else, get a second, third, fourth or fifth opinion. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Don’t be scared to go back. Don’t be scared to get an extra test,” the actress remarked.



At the moment, the “Roseanne” and “Scrubs” star is happily engaged with Jamie while taking care of her two children. Apart from that, Sarah Chalke is still active in the entertainment industry, mainly doing voice overs.

Starting in 2013, she has been voicing “Rick and Morty’s” character Beth Smith. In 2016, Sarah began to play Mrs. Murawski’s voice in “Milo Murphy’s Law.”

The latest series Sarah has worked is “Friends from College,” a comedy TV show available on Netflix wherein she portrays Merrill Morgan, a secondary character mainly from the second season.


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