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Angel Flight East is dedicated to using flights to help save lives

Angel Flight East is dedicated to using flights to help save lives
Angel Flight East is dedicated to using flights to help save lives 02:03

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- This weekend, an 8-month-old baby boy with a congenital heart defect was flown from Virginia to Pittsburgh for life-saving surgery.

KDKA-TV cameras were there as he and his family landed in Allegheny County.

Using flights to help save lives is the mission of Angel Flight East, a non-profit organization dedicated to getting those in need of medical treatment far from home where they need to go.

"They're probably the kindest, greatest people I've ever met. They're just always giving and want to help someone out," said Greg Villano, private pilot for Angel Flight East.

This sweet little boy is Dylan and is defying the odds after being born prematurely.


"He is precious. A miracle baby," Xenia Parada said, Dylan's older sister.

"He has a congenital heart defect. He's already had one open heart surgery, and his local hospital back in Virginia could not accommodate his medical needs, so he was referred to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and we flew him here," said Jess Ames, Outreach and Events Director for Angel Flight East.

He's already spent the first six-and-a-half months of his life in the hospital and is now in need of another open heart surgery, but his family says they weren't sure how they'd ever get him to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

"Our drive would have been about five hours, and it was not going to be easy while having a brother who needs oxygen and has a G-tube and feeding tube," Xenia said.

That's when Angel Flight East stepped in, flying Dylan and his family for life-saving care free of charge.

"United States insurance does not cover transportation, so Angel Flight East is a way that we volunteer to transport patients at no cost to the patient," said John Solt, a pilot for Angel Flight East.

Now in the Steel City, Dylan's surgery is scheduled for Thursday, July 11, at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"We're trusting God. Trusting the doctors," Xenia said.

Angel Flight East provides an average of 1,000 flights annually to children and adults with medical conditions far from home.

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