‘Gentle giant’ dad, 35, finds out he has weeks to live on daughter’s first birthday
The fiancée of a young dad has told of how he was delivered a devastating terminal cancer diagnosis on her daughter’s first birthday.
Dean Whelan, from Golcar in Yorkshire, was diagnosed with terminal cancer on August 6, when medics told him he had just weeks to live.
Now Dean’s fiancée, Emily Whelan, says the couple are “battling head on” as they prepare to marry.
When Dean received the diagnosis on his daughter Lorelai’s first birthday, the 35-year-old instantly made the decision to propose to Emily.
Speaking to Yorkshire Live, Emily described Dean as a “gentle giant” who is “friends with everyone”.
“He is a big lad so some people can be a bit wary of him but he is so soft-centred,” she said.
The 34-year-old said there had been “no signs at all” of Dean’s illness before the couple attended the Hela Mega Tour in Huddersfield almost two months ago.
“He got a pain in his back and it would not go away,” said Emily. “They did a CT scan at the hospital and found that he had a blood clot on his lung.
“The pain got worse and they eventually found a mass on his bowel. They did more tests and it came back that it had spread and that they could not do anything.”
Dean and Emily were told he had just weeks left to live.
“We shut that down,” said Emily. “That was enough for us. We want to have months and we are battling it head on.”
Dean, who is now undergoing rounds of chemotherapy as a way of managing the cancer, proposed to Emily later the same day and the couple are hopeful they will be given a date for the wedding on Wednesday.
“We should have been going to Cornwall this weekend and he was going to propose to me there, so he already had a ring,” said Emily.
“He said he wanted the day to be remembered as our daughter’s first birthday and the day he asked me to marry him. It was special.”
A Go Fund Me page has now been launched in the hope of raising as much money as possible for the family to make as many memories as they can in the time that they have together. The page has so far raised £2,330.
Dean, who is also a stepdad to Emily’s 15-year-old son, Jayden, and daughter, Neve, 11, has big plans for the family – and most involve Disney.
According to Emily, Dean is known to his friends as ‘Disney Dean’ due to his love for all things Disney.
She said: “We don’t know if this is going to be possible, but we want to go to Disney World in Florida. If we can’t, we’d like to go to Disneyland Paris.
“Dean wants to watch as many Disney films with the kids as possible and he wants to take the kids to see Blackpool Illuminations as that is a normal tradition for us.”
Emily said Dean has been ‘floored’ by the amount of money raised so far. She added: “I can’t put into words how grateful we are. It will mean that we can do something Dean might want to do when he gets up in the morning.
“And it means I’ll be able to do the stuff that I want to do with the kids. It might even help them in the future as well.”