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Team Super Dean Supports Classmate with Cancer

More than a school, The Malvern School is a community that supports our students, families, teachers and staff. So, when one of our young friends at The Malvern School of Robbinsville was diagnosed with cancer late last year, his Directors, teachers and classmates knew they wanted to help in any way they could.

“It’s hard to even imagine how Dean’s parents must have felt getting this news – and how difficult it must have been for Dean to have his entire world suddenly turned upside-down,” says Danielle Wunderlich, Executive Director at The Malvern School of Robbinsville. “At The Malvern School, we really are one big family, and we all knew we wanted to do something really special for Dean and his family.”

Soon, Team Super Dean was born. In February, the school held “Super Kid Dean Day” in Dean’s honor. Sporting capes and custom t-shirts with their favorite new super hero, Super Kid Dean, children, teachers and staff spent the day making cards and decorating posters for the family.



“We are grateful that you are all so wonderful to Dean!” says Dean’s mom Jess. “Dean has been thrilled to see all of the pictures of friends and teachers wearing his Team Dean shirts! At first, this journey was really confusing and hard for him to understand, but as we all adjust, he sees the shirts and gets really excited!”



To help Dean stay and feel connected to his class, the Preschool 1 classroom is also doing the Monkey In My Chair program. Designed to help children who are away from school due to a cancer diagnosis, this program provides each child a big stuffed monkey that takes their place in school. It also provides a kit with a book to help teachers explain to students what their classmate is going through and other tools.



“Dean was so happy to see his friends giving hugs to the Monkey in his chair and said he couldn’t believe his teacher was reading a story to him!” says Jess.

“Malvern has been such an important part of his life from the beginning, so keeping the connection to his school has been really important to us,” she adds. “Dean thrived on his schedule and absolutely loves going to school. He’s missing the routine of his old life a lot, but staying connected in creative ways like this really helps.”

Dean is currently in the Consolidation phase of treatment and is receiving chemotherapy treatment weekly. While he has needed blood and platelet transfusions over the past few weeks to help him feel a little better, his parents say Dean is in good spirits.

“We are all rooting for Dean, and we are so happy that we can play a part in helping him through this journey,” says Ms. Danielle. “He is a truly incredible kid who is teaching all of us about the meaning of true courage and strength. He is nothing short of a super hero.”


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