Nurse treating COVID-19 patients while battling brain cancer


ALEXANDER CITY, Ala (WIAT) — Erin Dean has worked as a nurse for 16 years while raising three children and recently returning to school full-time to pursue becoming a nurse practitioner.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been on the front lines treating patients without missing a beat.

Her coworkers and her friends, Amber D’Olimpio and Jenn McMullen call her a hero.

“She’s the toughest woman I know,” D’Olimpio said.

In 2017, Dean was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it. But in 2019, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastasis to the brain. She underwent treatment while continuing to work at the hospital.

D’Olimpio and McMullen say their friend stayed optimistic and continued to let her goofy side out. On Halloween, Dean dressed up as a bald eagle.

Throughout the pandemic, the nurses say Dean has lifted their spirits.

It was in August when Dean learned the brain cancer returned and she would need to start treatments again.

D’Olimpio and McMullen started a GoFundMe to help raise money for medical bills. They say Dean continues to work to support her three children and she is still going to school full time, so helping pay the out of pocket costs of cancer treatments is the least they could do.

“We genuinely love her, and we don’t want to see her struggle, and this is the least we can do,” McMullen said.

“For us, it’s not just the helping her out financially, I think she deserves to have that recognition and people know how hard she is working and she’s an inspiration and story for people who are going through something similar,” D’Olimpio said.

You can learn more about Dean’s story here.


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