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Dad who has ‘no signs’ of cancer still has weeks to live for his baby’s first birthday


A father diagnosed with terminal cancer on his daughter’s first birthday plans to battle her illness to allow her to spend as much time as possible with her family.

Dean Whelan, from Golcar in the north of England, was diagnosed with cancer this month after showing ‘no signs at all’ until around two months ago, according to his fiancee Emily.

Around this time, 35-year-old Whelan began experiencing persistent pain in his back which prompted him to go to the hospital for a CT scan. The scan showed Whelan had a blood clot on his lung, and further tests also found a mass on his intestine.

A file photo shows a doctor holding the hand of a hospital patient. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States
Michaeljung/Getty

“They did more tests and it came back that it had spread and there was nothing they could do,” Emily told UK regional newspaper Yorkshire Live. Whelan’s cancer diagnosis was made on August 6, the same day as her daughter Lorelai’s first birthday.

Bowel cancer, also called colorectal cancer, is a common type of cancer that affects the colon and rectum. In the United States, it is the third most common type of cancer and the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 150,000 new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer diagnosed in 2022. It is also the third leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women in the country.

There are a number of treatments for this type of cancer, including surgeries to treat tumors or medications like chemotherapy. Finding cancer early, when it’s small and hasn’t spread, often allows for more treatment options. However, not all cancers have signs or symptoms that can be noticed at an early stage.

With only weeks to live, Whelan immediately proposed to Emily and a fundraiser has since been launched to help fund the family for their remaining time. Dean is also stepfather to Emily’s 15-year-old son Jayden and 11-year-old daughter Neve.

Emily said her future husband planned to undergo chemotherapy to manage his cancer and spend as much time as possible with his family. “We want to have months and we are fighting head-on,” she told Yorkshire Live.

For the future, Disney-loving Dean and the family are planning a trip to Disney World in Florida or, failing that, Disneyland Paris. In the meantime, the dad wants to watch as many Disney films as possible with his children.

Emily said she was ‘devastated’ by the kindness of supporters who donated more than £3,000 ($3,619) to the family’s GoFundMe page, titled ‘Please support Emily, Dean and their children’ .

Newsweek asked the family for comment.

In an Aug. 15 update, fundraiser organizer Jodie Wood wrote, “Thank you all for your donations! This will go a long way in helping Dean, Emily and these beautiful babies create some precious memories.”


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