Upstate middle schooler to undergo chemo, radiation and more sur - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate middle schooler to undergo chemo, radiation and more surgery after brain tumor removed

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Ruthie, just released from the hospital following brain surgery, poses with her parents. (Source: Jeff Dean) Ruthie, just released from the hospital following brain surgery, poses with her parents. (Source: Jeff Dean)
Ruthie Dean (Source: Jeff Dean) Ruthie Dean (Source: Jeff Dean)
Source: UCSO Source: UCSO

An eighth grader in Union County that garnered widespread support from her community before undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor, is now preparing for more treatment, her father says.

Ruthie Dean, 13, has a positive outlook on life, despite what she’s going through. She says it’s all thanks to the love and support she has received from her school, Sims Middle School, and the community.

Ruthie is an honors student, who is known for always having a smile on her face. But back in September, she received news that would change her life and her parents’ lives, forever.

“The doctor said, ‘I’m sorry. Your daughter has a brain tumor,'” said Jeff Dean, Ruthie’s father. 

Her mother continued, “My world just stopped for a minute.”

After finding out about Ruthie’s brain tumor, her school wanted to do something to support her.

Her principal, Eric Childers, jumped into action.

"Monday afternoon as we were leaving, I just got on the announcement and asked the students to bring one dollar a piece just to pay for gas or food," said Childers. "The next day we took up 900 bucks." 

There was a yellow banner hanging on the wall of the school that read “Pray for Ruthie”. Students stopped by to sign it.

Childers continued, "I made the announcement that if they wanted to write something…and before I could even get it out of my mouth they were lined up. They have really just stepped up and embraced the whole situation and they have made Ruthie feel like they have her back."

People across Union County and the Upstate wore blue on the day of Ruthie's surgery, in her honor.  Blue is her favorite color. 

A social media campaign titled #Blu4Ru took off online and the school showed up to campus on the day of Ruthie's surgery, in a sea of blue.

“Pretty much the entire county will be wearing blue in honor of her tomorrow," Childers explained.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office threw in their support too. They put up a post on Facebook encouraging people to wear blue on the day of Ruthie's surgery in support, and share photos of their outfits on social media using the hashtag #Blu4Ru.

Ruthie told us that she was truly overwhelmed by the love and support.

“Nobody is promised tomorrow," said Ruthie. "Embrace every moment because you don't know whats next and you don't know what the future looks like.”

A moment of silence took place at Sims Middle School right at 9 a.m., the moment when Ruthie’s surgery was scheduled to begin. 

Just after 1 p.m., Ruthie's father said surgeons had removed the tumor and were closing up the incisions. Her parents said they are keeping their faith and know Ruthie's health is all in God’s hands.  

Around 9 p.m September 22, Ruthie's father again posted an update on Facebook, and shared some touching thoughts with those following Ruthie's story. By Sunday, Ruthie's father said the MRI looked great and they should be discharged from the hospital soon.

And by Sunday evening, September 24, Mr. Dean reported that Ruthie had been released from the hospital.  He says his wife was told by a nurse practitioner that the nurse had never seen a recovery from this type of surgery go as quickly as it had with Ruthie.

"Our God is able!" said Dean.

Ruthie returned to school on Wednesday, September 27, for the first time since the surgery, but was easing her way into it with half days. She said the outpouring of love from the school was amazing upon her return.

"Everyone has really wrapped their arms around me and embraces me every time I walk down the hall," she said. "That's really special."

She issued a 'thank you' video to the many who have supported her and worn blue in her honor.

Ruthie's mother Courtney Dean released the following statement to FOX Carolina about Ruthie's recovery:

"As Ruthie's Mom, when I think of the events of the past 10 days, I am truly overwhelmed at the hand of God and the way His glory has been displayed within the life of our family! Jeff and I have talked much about just how blessed we are to experience such love and support and the fact that it's ongoing. Many pictures have flooded social media- faces of my child gleaming with that beautiful smile of hers and even pictures of her dressed as Supergirl! Its the most beautiful sight I have seen in the most recent days...While God gave us a godly medical staff and a surgeon who is a child of God as well, HE was the ONLY one who brought success within the OR and His hands were the ones that manipulated the surgeon's. He truly performed a miracle within the one He created and we are forever grateful!!! However, may it never be said that we are deserving of any attention. Rather may it ALWAYS be said that we are very thankful that God has allowed us to praise His name publicly so that He receives all glory and honor! So, without us trying to push our faith into the life of someone, we want to glorify the One in whom we trust! He never disappoints and His strength is secure! Many have inquired as to how we made it through the last ten days. It's even been asked of us what the "secret" was to getting through a trial such as this. There is no secret - only truth! The truth that Almighty God is faithful to those who love Him and call on His glorious name is that which has sustained us and will continue to do so. Jeff has been posting much on social media to keep everyone updated. However, as Ruthie's Mom, please allow me to express how very grateful I am for the outpouring of love that we have experienced. When I continue to see posts that say "Blu4Ru," it's an encouragement to Mom on days when I'm exhausted. Just knowing that people "have our backs" speaks volumes about the community in which we live and the church with whom we do life. Thank your to ALL of Union County, SC - every school, business, family and more that have shown great love towards us. Thank you to the Children's Hospital at Greenville Memorial Hospital for care incomparable to any other Hospital. Thank you to Crossroads Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC - the church that simply does life with each other. Thank you to everyone for such love and generosity that has been shown to each one of us as we watched God work! It truly IS amazing to watch Him glorify Himself! May we be faithful to do the same as we await pathology reports and continue to move forward. We trust. Signed, A Very Grateful Mom"

Dean said she would like to honor Dr. Chris Troup of GHS, who performed Ruthie's neurosurgery.

"Dr. Chris Troup of Greenville Hospital System did her neurosurgery and I would LOVE for you to let the people following our story who he is and how AMAZING he is!"

More treatment to come

On Thursday, October 5, Ruthie's grandfather shared an update with FOX Carolina on his grandaughter.

Ruthie's tumor pathology report from Johns Hopkins determined that she has Grade 4 Glioblastoma (GBM). She will have to have chemotherapy and radiation after having another more extensive surgery that is currently being scheduled. Our world has once again been rocked but He has overcome the world! We still choose to trust! We cannot express to you how very grateful we are for the outpouring of love and support we have received. Even though it is not what we wanted to hear, we choose to trust! Our God is faithful! God is who He says he is and we are what He says we are, so we must be who we say we are. God is good.

Her father said she will undergo a second surgery on Oct 18.

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