On July 12th, 2020 my dad passed away after a long fight with Leukemia. The Dean Machine went into 3 rounds of overtime with 8 rounds of chemo and fought valiantly the whole way without ever uttering a single complaint. This is just one of the many reasons that he is and will forever be our hero.
His battle was long, but the end was sudden and painless. Family, sunshine, a gentle breeze, and birdsong accompanied Dean in the house he built on his final journey. Although he was taken from us far too soon, we are eternally grateful for the last 2.5 years we had together. The silver lining is that this terrible disease brought us closer together as a family and reinforced to us all that love and relationships are the only true source of happiness.
My brother so accurately described fresh loss as feeling “like you dropped a plate that you're trying to glue back together but the pieces will never quite fit the same again.” We are only experiencing these deep feelings of sadness because we were fortunate enough to have the best father figure and husband a family could ever ask for. Cancer may have taken away his physical abilities, but it can never touch his heart and soul--those things will carry on forever.
My dad's strength still lives on in me, my brother, and my unbelievably strong rock of a mother who was there for all of us throughout every step of this journey. She and my dad shared 38 years of marriage together, countless adventures, and timeless love without any limitations or exceptions. whatever souls are made of, his and ours are the same and for that I am forever grateful. We are blessed to still have each other to keep his memories alive.
I created this website and fundraiser as a gift for my dad on his first father’s day after being diagnosed. His battle may have ended, but mine is nowhere near being finished. I feel closest to my dad when I am in nature, and I know that is where he would be if he were still here. I am going to continue climbing, adding miles, accepting donations, and raising awareness for Acute Myeloid Leukemia for many years to come. My dad will continue to serve as my inspiration, along with other families who are enduring this tragic disease. My only hope is to make some kind of impact on finding a treatment, or better yet a cure so that no other daughter has to lose her dad to AML before his time. Before they were able to hike all the trails they’d planned on doing together, before he got to see her get her college degree, or before he could walk her down the aisle.
I can’t thank you enough for passing on your adventurous spirit to me daddy, it has changed my life. I miss you already, but I know I’ll see you again in the mountains. I love you Pops.
Any and all donations in honor of Dean’s memory and for the future of beating AML are much appreciated at this time.