BILLINGS - McLain Blomquist looks like your typical 4-year-old dinosaur-loving boy, but the life he’s living and the journey it took him to get here is anything but.
“No one would have any idea that this little boy has been through so much. He is running and playing, and keeping up with other kids and loving life,” said McLain’s mom, Cassie Blomquist.
That wasn’t the case when he was just 10 months old.
Diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, it was news that was hard to hear even for his parents who work in the medical field.
“I mean, you try to take your medical hat off, but you know the risks in some of those types of things and so, we knew it was a very serious situation,” said McLain’s dad, Gabe Blomquist.
The serious situation meant an immediate flight to Denver for emergency heart surgery.
“They actually had to cut the piece that was kinked, and then sew it back together, which is a very dangerous and scary procedure,” Gabe said.
Since then, McLain had another visit to Denver and received a stent. He’s currently in the follow-up phase, closely watching for new symptoms.
Through all of this, the journey has had some silver linings, like a new friend in his cardiologist.
“I see him as my little friend, where I just need to make sure I have the right dragon with me, because he’ll be very excited to see me, so just bearing that in mind each time I come see him,” said Dr. Nancy Hua with a laugh.
It’s a bond the Blomquist family has encountered time and time again.
“It was like, they just came right in, and kind of stood in, in that moment. And I felt so taken care of, and I just felt a washing of peace by those nurses. Truly, nurses are angels, and I witnessed that,” Cassie said.
“The care that we’ve been able to get here has only exceeded what I already knew. So knowing that McLain is a Billings Clinic kid and we are Billings Clinic people, has been great,” Gabe said.
The Billings Clinic Kids Radiothon begins at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, and ends at 6 p.m. the following Friday.
Funds raised go directly to Billings Clinic Kids through the Piggy Bank and Kelker's Kids Funds.
The goal is to raise $100,000.
Gifts will assist families struggling with the costs associated with the diagnosis of a life-altering illness or disease.
Watch KTVQ and listen to Hot 101.9 for updates on Thursday and Friday.
To learn more about the radiothon and make a donation, click here.