Dying man fulfills last wish with return to Raymond

Posted Oct. 12, 2010, at 9:49 a.m.

SALINA, Kan. — A Kansas man who wanted to return to Maine to see his children before he dies has been helped by an anonymous donor who provided a private plane and medical care for the flight.

Anthony Napoleone, 28, was flown to Maine on Sunday and was resting at his aunt’s house in Raymond while a meeting with his two sons and two stepchildren can be arranged, said his mother, Rayleen Wright.

The donor came forward after a story about Napoleone’s wish in The Salina Journal was picked up by The Associated Press and run in several Maine newspapers, Wright said.

“He saw it and said, ‘We’re getting him home,’ with no hesitation at all,” said Wright, who flew from Salina to Maine with her son.

She said she doesn’t know the donor, who “has no idea what he’s done for my son and myself through his generosity.”

Napoleone’s health has declined since he was paralyzed after being stabbed during a fight with his sister’s boyfriend in Salina in 2008. He was given weeks or months to live and Hospice of Salina began helping with his care.

His wish was to return to Maine to see his two sons, Parish, 10, and Gage, 4, and his stepchildren, Gavin, 7, and Nicole, 2, who live there with his ex-wife.

Napoleone was medicated and slept through the two-hour flight.

“He said, ‘I fell asleep and all of the sudden I was in Maine,”’ Wright said. “He’s excited. He’s happy. It’s overwhelming to him.”

Napoleone’s father and grandparents met the plane and had an emotional reunion after being apart for more than two years.

“They cried,” Wright said. “His father got on the plane to welcome him home.”

When they arrived at his aunt’s house, his cousins “came piling out of this house running down to the car so they could see him,” Wright said. One of his cousins picked him up and carried him into the house, she said.

“It was wonderful, really extraordinary,” Wright said. “It was just awesome to see. I finally got to see my son with a smile on his face.”

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