DES MOINES, Iowa — Dane Pratt thought he was walking into a meeting with his boss at MercyOne in Des Moines on Thursday. What he found instead took his breath away.
Pratt, a cardiovascular profusionist, was surprised by a tiny former patient, a big pile of books and a giant representative from his favorite NFL team: Viktor, the Minnesota Vikings mascot.
The story started back in January when Parker Baker was hospitalized in critical condition while fighting a virus. Pratt was part of her care team, operating an ECMO machine that Parker was attached to for hours per day. Pratt helped Parker stay calm by reading to her during the procedures. The 18-month old is now on the road to recovery.
After Parker’s discharge, her family wanted to find a way to say ‘thank you’ to Pratt and started a book drive to give more reading options to kids in hospitals. That drive has been wildly successful, bringing in thousands of books from around the globe.
On Wednesday MercyOne and the Baker family celebrated that success with some big surprises for Pratt.
Pratt says he was called to a meeting with his boss on Thursday afternoon. But when he walked in the room he found the Baker family, hospital representatives, television cameras and Viktor, mascot of his favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings.
Viktor brought with him 100 copies of his book as well as a gift bag of jerseys, tickets and more for Pratt. He and Pratt walked the hospital handing them out to kids.