Four-year-old Noah Alderson, from Spokane, Washington, needed a special heart surgery from a hospital in Boston. He couldn’t fly there because the oxygen levels and exposure to germs can threaten his life on a commercial flight, nor could his family drive there in a normal car, since the heavy machines he relies on wouldn’t fit.
Instead, he took the cross-country trip of his life in an RV and had the chance to check out the sights – from a Chicago Cubs game to the Niagara Falls – along the way.
“This everything to us,” his mom, Tanasha Alderson, told InsideEdition.com. “Seeing historic places, like the Statue of Liberty, those were things I have put on Noah’s adventure list – things that I wasn’t sure if we would ever be able to get to do with him.”
They found out that Noah’s heart was not fully formed in utero.
“We were devastated,” she said. “The surgeon told us that the only thing they could do for him was a double transplant. When we found out that was going to be the only option, our heart just sank.”
Noah was born with four congenital heart defects, pulmonary atresia, no bottom right ventricle, no branches to the lung and his heart had developed backward in his chest.
Despite the odds, Noah prevailed, and earlier this summer, his family was told he was a candidate to have his third open-heart surgery at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
But their next challenge was getting him there. Alderson said she applied for medical flights but was turned down. They wouldn’t be able to take a commercial flight because they wouldn’t be able to control the amount of oxygen at the altitude and they couldn’t risk exposing Noah’s fragile immune system to germs.
Even if they took on the hefty trip in their family car, they wouldn’t have been able to fit all of Alderson’s medical equipment into the car.
But when Outdoorsy, a company that organizes RV rentals, caught wind of the family’s story, they reached out to the Aldersons and loaned them one for free to facilitate the journey.
“It was just a dream come true,” Alderson said.
They also took the opportunity to take a mini-summer vacation, exploring all the sights from the West to the East Coast in the 13 days it took them to get across the country.
“The biggest highlight of our trip, if Noah were to tell you, would be the Columbus Zoo,” she recalled. “Noah was led on this wonderful excursion adventure. He got to feed giraffes and his face just lit up the whole time.”
But Alderson said the real gift was the memories the family made along the way: “It turned into this family adventure that helped us forget for a little that our son is sick.”
To support the family through their medical bills, visit their GoFundMe page.