Boy with illness receives medallion from Pope

Posted at 11:27 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 23:27:15-04

A sick child, diagnosed with a rare, fatal illness when he was an infant, has surpassed expectations and is still living more than a decade later, but an extended stay in the hospital is bringing concern to the people who love him most.

10-year-old Ashton Dean, diagnosed with arteriovenous malformations, or AVM, a condition involving abnormal connections between arteries and veins, has spent four weeks in a hospital bed at the Johns Hopkins University Children's Hospital after an episode one night in which his mother, Betsy Dean, said she was forced to call 9-1-1.

Doctors are baffled by has caused his latest hospital stay, his mother said. After arriving at the hospital, Ashton slept for days, according to his mother.

As he lay in the hospital, a Nebraska woman, spending time in Florida, decided to drive to Cleveland, OH for a football game. On her way, she stopped in Washington, DC, where Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church was addressing a joint session of Congress. In a chance encounter, she was given a medallion by a woman she met, which had been blessed by Pope Francis.

Thursday, after following Ashton's story for years on Facebook, she drove to the hospital to hand deliver the medallion to the boy.

The Dean family says medical bills have piled up, and have set up a GoFundMe page. You can find it here. (