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Hospital worker reads to little girl fighting for her life

“Going the extra mile doesn’t mean you actually have to walk a mile.”

DES MOINES — Born at 23 weeks, baby Parker has spent more than 200 days in the NICU.

She was brought home over the summer, but her compromised lungs meant that she would soon return to MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center.

And one employee has made a lasting impact on Parker’s family with his simple gesture of kindness.

“He just one day scooted up to her bedside, opened a book, and read to her,” said Cassie Baker, Parker’s mother. “It was just, as a parent, it makes you feel so at home and at east knowing that there are medical professionals that don’t just see this as a job and are still compassionate.”

Dane Pratt, the cardiovascular perfusionist on duty at the time, pulled up alongside Parker and read a book his own grandmother gave to him.

Photo: Cassie Baker

“Going the extra mile doesn’t mean you actually have to walk a mile,” Pratt said. “Sometimes it’s as easy as reading a book.”

From the hospital staff to her family, baby Parker certainly isn’t going through this fight alone.

“She’s fighting … she’s gonna prove everybody wrong,” said Jacob Baker, Parker’s father. “She has a mission in life and she’s gonna fulfill that. She’s gonna do big things.”

Dane has also started a book drive. You can drop off any new or gently used books off at the Des Moines MercyOne pediatric floor.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Parker and her family.