Father-of-two Dean Patten passed away at the age of 45. His sudden death came as a devastating shock to friends and family who described him as a true “family man” with a “lust for life.”
Dean’s widow, Nicola, describes him as a hero. Not just for how the brave firefighter lived his life, but also for how the father-of-two faced death when what doctors suspected to be gallstones, turned out to be something far more deadly — pancreatic cancer.
Dean, affectionately called Deano by friends, was a father to Eleanor, 12, and Max, 6. He’d spent the previous 6 years proudly serving as a firefighter, a job he loved.
Nicola says her husband never sat still. He was always on the move and spent much of his time doing things for others. So, when his health declined abruptly, it came as a big surprise.
Dean, from Somerset, England, headed to the doctor when he noticed he’d become jaundiced. The doctors suspected gallstones as the culprit and performed an ultrasound to confirm.
But the results presented something far more serious.
Dean’s health problems were actually the result of pancreatic cancer, which had already spread to his liver. After the heartbreaking diagnosis, doctors gave Dean just six to eight months left to live.
That kind of devastating news puts everything into perspective. But what’s truly inspiring is the positive way the 45-year-old embraced his death.
“He didn’t have a bucket list and said he had no regrets with the life he had led,” Nicola said.
There was only one thing left for Dean to do before he left this world. Marry the love of his life.
After 16 beautiful years together, Dean wanted to make sure Nicola became his wife before he died.
Friends and family helped to quickly pull things together. Three months before his death, Nicola and Dean enjoyed “the most amazing wedding.”
Just shortly after the wedding, things took a turn for the worst.
Dean came down with pneumonia. The illness left him too weak to move forward with the chemotherapy as planned. Dean’s condition rapidly deteriorated. Doctors placed him in hospice care and he was gone soon after.
Dean’s grieving widow announced her husband’s passing in a moving tribute on Facebook.
“Dean was my everything and throughout his short battle with cancer he showed us all the hero he really was,” nicola said.
The beauty of a life well-lived is that no matter when or how it ends, it leaves behind an unforgettable impact on others. Dean’s legacy will always be remembered. May he R.I.P.