Returning the favor: Clemmons stalwart propped up by community he has supported for so long

Published 12:05 am Thursday, July 11, 2024

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By Owen Fender

For the Clemmons Courier

Before this past year, Edward Dean, lovingly referred to as “Ed” by those fortunate enough to know him, was active and energetic.

He participated in numerous community organizations throughout Clemmons and ran a successful vacation planning business, but then he fell onto the pavement last August.

That set Dean down a long and harrowing path, plagued with health issues that have affected his quality of life. Luckily, those aware of Dean’s generous nature and long history of community service have gathered support for him and Dean’s story has become one of continued faith and determination in the face of difficulty.

On Aug. 17, 2023, Dean suffered from his second fall onto the pavement in a month, and while doctors were looking for broken bones, they discovered a large tumor that required immediate attention. By the end of the month, doctors had successfully removed the cancer, but Dean faced devastating news yet again as his doctors had determined the reason for his fall onto the pavement.

Doctors told him he was suffering from spinal stenosis, a disease that constricts his spinal cord and other nerves traveling through his spine. To prevent further damage to his spinal cord, doctors recommended Dean undergo decompression surgery, but warned him that surgeons may experience complications during the surgery. On Jan. 26, Dean went under the knife, and when he awoke he was unable to move. 

Dean now receives treatment at a VA hospital in Richmond, Virginia, where his life is consumed by physical therapy and other treatments to recover as much mobility as possible. However, he has continued to operate his vacation planning business with assistance from his mother, which he loves. He described how much he loves his customers, whom he described as loyal, and how some customers even visited him in the Winston-Salem hospital before he relocated to Richmond.

Thankfully, support for friends in Clemmons has traveled with Dean to Richmond. He has garnered so much support because he dedicated much of his life to community service across North Carolina. His community service work has included performing as a D.J. for Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce meetings, fundraising 5Ks and local daddy-daughter dances. Dean explained his love of music and how he began D.Jing when he agreed to D.J. a friend’s wedding after he returned home from Desert Storm. He also volunteered at the Clemmons Goblin Hop for multiple years and countless other community events.

Dean has an inspiringly optimistic outlook despite the hardships he has faced this past year. He said that he has “gone through the 7 stages of grief and I am now at acceptance.”

However, Dean and his family know his life will be substantially impacted. He and his mother spoke about the necessary adjustments he needs to make to remain independent in his daily life. He will likely require a bed lift to get out of bed and may need to make his home and vehicle wheelchair accessible. He will also have to adapt every room in his house to accommodate his wheelchair and inability to stand. These expenses will be in addition to whatever medical bills Dean currently has and will continue accumulating.

People who wish to support Dean will have a few ways to do so. His supporters and friends from the chamber will hold a fundraiser at The Playground Golf & Sports Bar located at Jessie Lane in Clemmons on July 17 from 4-6 p.m.

However, the event will accommodate those who wish to attend later in the evening and still wish to provide support for Dean. If you cannot attend the July 17 fundraiser, Dean’s friends have established an account at Fidelity Bank that accepts donations on his behalf. If you wish to donate, contact a local branch of Fidelity Bank and inform them you wish to donate to the “Ed Dean SCI Account.”

Dean was asked what it meant to him to receive such strong support from his community in his time of suffering, and his response characteristically related to community service.

“Thank you is inadequate,” he said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed and loved every moment of community service and interactions with my community.”

He specifically spoke about making others smile at the Clemmons Goblin Hop and said, “Some of those moments are worth a whole lot. So, I can’t place a price on my memories let alone the support I have received.”

Dean’s story is heartbreaking yet uplifting. His story is a testament to the strength of our Clemmons community and speaks to the positive impact he’s had on many lives within our community. Those who know him have not left Dean to fight alone and he has had support throughout his difficult journey, for which he is beyond grateful.