Brave student Nick Dean loses battle for life at Larkfield home after 21-year cancer fight
A determined student who fought off cancer three times, has lost his final battle with the disease.
But Nick Dean has helped save five people’s lives - after his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas were all successfully transplanted.
The 28-year-old died at his family home in New Hythe Lane, Larkfield, after an undetected tumour caused a stroke.
Nick Dean was a best man to his friend last year
He was discovered by his mum Annie, but never regained consciousness.
The former lifeguard, who worked at Larkfield Leisure Centre for 11 years, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was seven.
He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and his parents thought he had beaten the illness, but he relapsed aged 13 and again at 15.
The last setback left the former Maplesden Noakes pupil needing an urgent bone marrow transplant.
A 41-year-old donor from Ohio, America, gave Nick 11 more years to live his life to full.
Nick pictured on Sydney Harbour Bridge with his family
The motorbike enthusiast began feeling unwell in December and was due to have an MRI scan two days after he died.
His family have been told the tumour was inoperable.
Mrs Dean, 56, said: “In a way, it’s the best thing which could have happened. He hasn’t suffered any pain and hasn’t had to wait to die.
“Nick often said he would take his bike over the Grand Canyon rather than go through treatment again.
“He packed so much into his short life. He didn’t want to let his medical history dictate his future. He wanted to see the world and make the most of it.”
The keen sportsman took up rock climbing, mastered Taekwondo martial arts, travelled to Australia with his family where he plunged 14,000ft out of a plane and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, qualified as a scuba diver in Thailand and worked at a summer camp in America.
Nick Dean, pictured on holiday in Thailand last year
He had recently started running again with dad Dave, 56, former chairman of Larkfield Athletic Club, who completed dozens of marathons in aid of Anthony Nolan Trust, a UK bone marrow register.
Nick worked as a tree surgeon but changed direction three years ago to study chemistry at the University of Greenwich, in Chatham. He was due to graduate in June.
Mrs Dean, a member of Malling Rotary Club, added: “He was a popular lad and loved spending time with his mates but had been really focused on his university work.
“In a way, it’s the best thing which could have happened. He hasn’t suffered any pain and hasn’t had to wait to die" - Nick's mum Annie
“The support we’ve had from his friends has been overwhelming.”
Only son Nick was also a hit with the children at the family’s pre-school, Glebe House Nursery, which is next to their house.
His family, including sisters Kate, 26, and Roseanne, 21, were able to say goodbye at Kings College Hospital, in London, before he died.
The family has asked for donations to Anthony Nolan Trust instead of flowers at the funeral. Contributions can be made at www.justgiving.com/Annie-Dean1.
Nick's funeral will be held next Thursday, February 27, at Vinters Park Crematorium, in Bearsted Road, Maidstone. The service will start at 3.30pm. Anyone who knew Nick is welcome.
The funeral directors are Doves in London Road, Larkfield. The family have requested donations to Anthony Nolan, a UK bone marrow register, instead of flowers.
For more details about becoming an organ donor, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.
Stories you might have missed
- Click here for more Maidstone news
- Click here for more news from across the county