Fundraising underway for Roseville boy fighting cancer

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 26, 2015

 Eric Dean, a 14-year-old Roseville resident, was diagnosed with bone cancer in July. His friend’s family has set up fundraisers to help Dean’s family cover his medical costs.

Eric Dean, a 14-year-old Roseville resident, was diagnosed with bone cancer in July. His friend’s family has set up fundraisers to help Dean’s family cover his medical costs.

Photo provided by Betty Main


ROSEVILLE — A Roseville boy fighting bone cancer is getting a boost thanks to fundraising efforts that his friends are putting together.

Eric Dean, 14, was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg July 17, according to his mother, Amy Dean.

“For the last year and a half, he was getting a lot of knee pain and we couldn’t figure out why,” Amy Dean said. “No X-rays or blood work were showing (anything) at all.”

That changed when Eric, who is entering the ninth grade in Lake Shore Public Schools, was spending time with one of his friends and got a kick to his knee. That caused a bruise, Amy Dean said, and a couple of weeks later, after falling off a scooter, they found that the bruise was still there and about 8 millimeters in size. Additional testing confirmed that Eric had osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.

She said he has already started on his chemo medication and will be going through 29 chemotherapy sessions in the coming months — a four-day session taking place every 21 days. In a few weeks, Eric will be going under the knife to have the cancer removed, an operation that will include a partial or full knee replacement and either a partial or full femur replacement. Doctors also will be removing a few lesions on his lungs.

“As he grows, they’ll go in and do more surgery — they may have to do skin grafting because he’s a skinny kid, but at least they found it early,” Amy Dean said. “His (cancer) isn’t hereditary, and it can take five to 10 years to show itself, and by then it’s too late. A good swift kick from a friend saved his life.”

Eric’s friend Gabe Daily went through cancer treatment last year, so Amy Dean said that after sitting with his friend during those chemo sessions, her son should know what to expect. Daily’s family is supporting Eric, running fundraisers to help cover the medical costs.

Betty Main, Daily’s aunt, said she has organized a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help, and set up a GoFundMe online to raise additional money. Main said all the money raised will be going to Eric and his family to help them out.

“It’s very expensive, the out-of-pocket costs for these guys, whether or not they have insurance,” Main said. “The circumstances with Gabe — he had insurance, but it only covers so much. Especially pain management — they don’t like to cover anesthesia and things that make complete sense to us.”

Main said she has known Eric for years through her nephew and wants to help make sure his family does not need to worry about medical treatment costs. The spaghetti dinner will take place starting at 6 p.m. Sept. 2 at the St. Clair Shores Knights of Columbus hall, located at 25003 Little Mack Ave. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for kids. Main said that they plan on having raffles for donated goods to help raise additional funds.

The GoFundMe website can be found at Main said they are not trying to raise any particular amount of money, just that every bit helps.

In the long run, Eric is looking at additional surgeries on his knee and femur as he continues to grow. Amy Dean said he is a huge fan of being outdoors and active, and while he may not be able to play professional football like he dreamed, he could still play it for fun. He should still be able to work on classic cars, go cycling and stay active once the treatments are completed.

“He’s a very outdoor kid,” she said. “He does not like video games, so it’s killing him — I turned on an Xbox for the first time in my life and he said, ‘This sucks.’”