TAMPA, FL — It's been a long journey from Utah to Tampa for twin infants David and Sydney. After a two-month, 2,288-mile separation, the babies are finally in the arms of their grateful parents thanks to an air ambulance company that operates out of a hangar at Tampa International Airport.
A surrogate mother gave birth to Alison Herman and John Waterman's twin babies in Utah on May 29, 10 weeks premature. Baby David weighed just 3 pounds while his sister, Sydney, weighed only 2 pounds.
While the new parents were thrilled, the babies' premature births in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic presented a unique challenge. It was too risky to travel 33 hours by car across the country with the immune-vulnerable babies and flying the babies home on a commercial airline flight was equally dicey.
As the babies gained weight and grew stronger, Herman and Waterman explored every option they could think of to bring their babies home including a flight by air ambulance but the $40,000 price tag was beyond the couple's reach.
That's when JET ICU offered to play stork for the newborns.
Founded in 2003, JET ICU provides air ambulance, medical repatriation and commercial medical escort services around the world.
The company heard about the couple's plight through a nurse in Utah and offered a private direct flight for the twins and their dad from Utah to Tampa – all expenses paid.
On Thursday afternoon, July 23, the original due date for the babies, David and Sydney, landed safely at Tampa International Airport's Signature Flight Support facility.
“Words can’t describe how thankful and grateful we are for the help from JET ICU,” said a tearful Alison Herman. “I’m just so relieved that they’re safe, and they’re home for good. Today is actually the day they were supposed to be delivered, and here they are — delivered home.”