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A family is thanking a fleet of police officers and first responders for cuddling their premature baby boy when they couldn’t be at the hospital with him.

Baby boy Axel Winch arrived at just 29 weeks. He was flown to Children’s Hospital Colorado on Aug. 1 and spend the next several months in the neonatal intensive care unit, KUSA reports. His parents say it wasn’t easy.

RELATED: Couple shares premature baby’s first year one second at a time

“Axel has died in our arms multiple times,” said dad Adam Winch. “His nurses have saved his life. We have watched miracle after miracle.”

According to TODAY, Adam, a former police officer who now owns his own business, shared updates on his son to his social media pages. The updates caught the eye of a former police colleague who now works with the Aurora Police Department.

Sargent Mike Pitrusu, head of the employee wellness unit, rallied officers to help baby Axel. One officer offered her home to the parents as a place to stay. Others delivered food the the family and raised money, enough to pay the bills for a month.

Soon, Adam and his wife, Melissa, had to return to work. Melissa works as a police officer with the Grand Junction police department.

“Leaving is heartbreaking,” said Melissa. “The first time we left, I cried not all the way home, but majority of the way home. It’s terrible.”

“We were afraid he was going to die while we were gone,” Adam said.

But the group of officers weren’t going to let that happen. Pitrusu came up with the idea of  “cuddle watch.” Police officers visited the hospital in shifts to make sure Axel was never along.

About 20 officers scheduled time around the clock to cuddle Axel, singing to him and talking to him.

Axel finally became strong enough to go home in November, thanks to his wide circle of friends. Now, his parents say, they’re facing a new problem.

“They’ve kind of spoiled our boy now,” said Melissa. “He just wants to be held all the time now.”

The Aurora police officers plan to continue their cuddle squad mission and visit other babies in need.

The family started a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical bills. If you would like to donate, click here or below:

He’s the son of police officers, and it took an entire department to help him survive GoFundMe / Baby Axel

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