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A Heart for Dakota

Dakota Case, 24, of Tea, needs a heart transplant. Friends and family are working to fundraise to help defray medical and related expenses for the Case family. Donations can be made online at:

During last weekend’s annual city-wide rummage event, 10-year-old Jacob Bender got help from his mom, friends and neighbors to run a small concession stand to keep the dream of a new heart for a friend alive.

What started as a small collection of baked goods turned into a neighborhood-wide effort, with over 70 hot dogs and countless donuts and other snacks sold. Nearly $500 was raised on Friday, said Jacob's mom, Cindy Bender. The money has been donated to a fund for Dakota Case, a 24-year-old who has lived in Tea with his family since 2001.

Case has had a rare heart defect, truncus arteriosus, since birth, and has underwent several surgeries. He was scheduled to undergo an aortic valve repair a few weeks ago, but was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha with pneumonia-like symptoms. He was placed on a ventilator and heart-lung bypass machine known as ECMO.

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