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After a tough delivery, Dean Anzalone of Scobey, Montana was just a few hours old when Benefis Mercy Flight picked him up at a rural hospital for treatment at Benefis Health System. Mom Sasha Juel and dad Wyatt Anzalone raced after him by car.
Dean’s parents were still on the way to Great Falls when doctors called with the news their tiny baby had a heart with holes and transposed arteries. He needed surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“It was the most terrifying day of our lives and the longest eight hours imaginable,” Sasha said.
Donors to Benefis Foundation’s Angel Fund help cover expenses for families when children must travel for treatment. Dean is one of more than 1,200 children who have been helped by Angel Fund donors. Every year, the number of sick children in need increases.
“When Dean was flown from Benefis to Seattle Children’s, we were already so far from home and unprepared for an open-ended stay in Seattle,” Sasha said.
“Thanks to the Angel Fund, we were able to immediately begin our journey and focus on getting to our little boy instead of worrying about fuel, lodging, and food,” she added. “Charity like the Angel Fund made it possible for both of us to be there for his surgery and recovery which meant the world to us as brand-new parents.”
Today Dean’s heart looks great. He will need regular visits to the cardiologist but can expect a normal, active life, Sasha said. The sweet boy is meeting milestones with ease.
Wyatt said he hoped to be a hero to his son, but instead found in his newborn “our little superhero.”
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