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This fundraiser ended on 12/01/12

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The family and friends of Elizabeth Dean are uniting to raise money to help her battle against lung cancer. Please show your support!

My mother is a tough and tender woman. Her heart's as wild and big as a hurricane. Her love is all- encompassing, as is her disappointment if you let her down by being less than the person she raised. Thankfully, I've only made that mistake once!

My mother is one the hardest workers I know. She and my father labored twelve to sixteen hours, six days a week in sweltering carpet mills throughout my childhood and adolescence just to make sure there was food on the table and books on my shelves.

My mother taught me the value of education. Though she didn't graduate high school traditionally, while working those long shifts, she attained her GED and put herself through Junior College. When I was in elementary school, she would take me to the library every Saturday and on school nights, my mother didn't read to me...she insisted I read to her instead. She is the reason I am a writer and storyteller today.

My mother is fun, imaginative and fearless. She not only provided me with solid morals, a love of education and a firm work ethic...she also taught me that life isn't worth living unless you do it with gusto. As a child (and still) I was particularly fond of Halloween. How many mothers would trust their sugar-ridden little boy to dab globs of liquid latex on her face--in her eyes and nose, I'm sure-- hoping to create perfectly putrid witch skin? Not only did my mother allow this YEAR AFTER YEAR, but she enjoyed it and helped me perfect my 12-year-old aspiration to be a horror movie makeup artist. And no, today as a thirty-two year old man, I am not a horror movie makeup artist.

My mother understands the meaning of home. She was raised on land three generations of her family cultivated. She and my father opted to raise me on this same land, teaching me a love of home and respect for legacy.

My mother is the best nurse when you're sick. There were many times as a kid I would fake being sick just to receive her ultra good pampering. Even though she knew I was faking, she played along. About ten years ago, my father developed a rare condition called multi-focal muscle neuropathy. He lost use of his hands and was unable to work. My mother became his full-time sidekick, opener of things, putter-on of socks and trimmer of beard. All with her characteristic smile and razor-sharp wit. Dad doesn't get away with any self-pity.

In September of last year, after years of battling the declining economy in which my mother took odd jobs cleaning houses and mowing yards, my parents lost their piece of the family homestead to the bank. It was a devastating loss, but nothing in comparison to what they now face.

My tenacious mother's name is Elizabeth Dean and she is engaged in the battle of her life. She was recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She is uninsured. Now that's she's been diagnosed, we're currently working out disability and Medicaid, but it's a slow process and doesn't pay the ever-mounting medical costs between now and the time a decision is rendered by social security.

My mother is confined to a recliner, on an oxygen tank, enduring chemo and radiation, fighting for her life. My father, though he is unable to use his hands, has somehow taken up the mantle of being her constant nurse, her bedrock, her putter-on of socks.

They are living in a trailer they rent, miles from those they love.

We aren't a wealthy family. It's hard to put into words the helplessness that I and the rest of my family feel right now. Everyone, that is, except my mother. My fearless, fun, quick-witted mother looked me unflinchingly in the eye and said, "Don't worry, I'm gonna beat this, son."

I believe her. I only wish I had the money it takes to fight this wretched disease. I would shell it out twenty times over to save her life.

She is an inspiration to me. As is my father, who is at her side, night and day, doing things he hoped he'd never have to do when he said "I do" thirty three years ago.

Many friends and family have said "Let me know how I can help." There are three ways:

1) Please donate any amount you can to Elizabeth Dean's fund. Any amount will help with her growing medical costs.

2) Pray for her. In any language, by any creed to any God.

3) Send this campaign to your friends and family. We all have mothers who we want to stay in our lives forever.

We are grateful for anything you give.

Gabriel Dean-- Elizabeth's son
William Dean (Junior)-- Elizabeth's husband
Johnny Wade-- Elizabeth's brother
Jessie Dean-- Elizabeth's daughter-in-law
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