Through treatment, chemotherapy, and prayers, Leslie made it through breast cancer and Dean became an even bigger advocate for breast cancer awareness, preventative screenings, and mammograms.
Wearing Pink for Karen
Dean continued to raise breast cancer awareness, but nothing would prepare him for August 2014, when he would get a call that Karen, his ex-wife, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to speak to him immediately. She had been hospitalized and Dean quickly dropped everything he was doing for the four-hour drive to Salina, KS to see her at her bedside.
Listening to Karen’s story, it wasn’t looking good. She admitted that at some point she was aware of the breast cancer, but she never had a preventative screening or a mammogram, and now it was progressing to the point of no return. She was struggling to keep awareness of the conversation, and Dean struggled to keep coherent communication with her going.
A few trips happened back and forth of Dean visiting her on his weekends off, and Karen received some chemotherapy, but the cancer was clearly taking over her body and her condition was quickly worsening.
A few weeks after being diagnosed, Dean got the call that he needed to get to her – and fast. Dean drove the four hours to her, unsure if he would make it or not. He dashed out of the car and into the hospital, running to her bedside. Bursting into the hospital room, he found her gasping, with Karen’s family sitting at her feet. Understanding what was happening, he hurried to her bedside, and was able to whisper his dying message to her. Moments later, she passed, and Dean was left with her grieving family.
Early Detection is Why I Wear Pink
“This is why I wear pink,” Dean says. “I have had two people very dear to me get diagnosed with breast cancer, and this is the two paths that breast cancer can take. I always encourage people to get their preventative screenings.”
Leslie and Karen aren’t the only two people that Dean has known to have breast cancer. Two years ago his little sister had breast cancer, and due to a preventative screening was able to catch it in time and is doing great.
Dean’s collection of pink has grown from a hand full of shirts to a full wardrobe, suit and tie, and even a pink mustang convertible. All in the name of raising breast cancer awareness and getting people to get their preventative screenings.
Early Detection is Best Protection
One in every 8 people will get breast cancer. If you know eight people, chances are you’re at risk – but the story doesn’t have to end there. Reduce your risk today and get a mammogram.
To schedule a mammogram, call (660) 262-7370 or fill out the form below and we will contact you to schedule an appointment.
Do you have a story about your experience at WMMC that you want to share with us? We want to hear it! Contact Ellie Schmutz at (660) 262-7472 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experience today!