Wishes In Flight: Spokane Teen Endured Three Surgeries - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wishes In Flight: Spokane Teen Endured Three Surgeries In Seven Weeks Battling Rare Disease

SPOKANE, Wash. -

Looking at 16-year-old Patrick Dean, you would never know what he's been through over the last two years - and that, in itself, is a miracle.

"When you looked at the X-ray of his skull it looked like he had been shot in the head," Patrick's mother, Jennifer Dean, told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.

Patrick was just 14 and a freshman at Central Valley High School when he got a concussion then a goose egg on his head that didn't go away. Doctors discovered a quarter-size hole in his skull. It was a lesion that had eaten away at his bone; part of a rare disease similar to Leukemia called "Langerhans cell histiocytosis."

"There are about 35,000 people in the whole planet who have what I have," Patrick explained.

Half of those people only have one lesion, but doctors found Patrick had a second in his femur. That led to three surgeries in seven days and a year of chemotherapy treatments.

"There were a lot of nights that were extremely hard," Jennifer said tearfully. "I'm very blessed, I'm very lucky, but it's hard knowing that not every child is able to make it through this."

But the Dean's hope the darkest days are behind them; they're about to celebrate the first anniversary of Patrick finishing chemo and recently returned from his Make-A-Wish trip to the Bahamas. But the anniversary he's really looking forward to is the 5-year mark, denoting he's officially declared free of the disease.

"He went into it as a teenage boy and came out of it as a grown man, he's amazing," Jennifer added. "He's wonderful, he's kind, he's compassionate, he cares about what happens to other people and he wants to change the world."

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