Sicamous family fundraising to help with expenses related to four-year-old son’s open heart surgery

Four-year-old Tyson Dean, son of Ryan and Colleen Dean, was born with a ventricle septal defect (VSD) – a small hole in a heart ventricle.

Update 10:35 a.m., Nov. 5, 2012:

Winter tires are no longer needed by the Deans.

Word of Tyson’s story, above, was posted on the EVN Facebook page on Friday, Nov. 1, along with a shout out for help on winter tires, so the Deans could safely travel to and from the Lower Mainland. The following day, the News received a reply from Bonnie Davies and Stacey Carlier, who offered to look after the tires.

Davies approached Fountain Tire in Salmon Arm for help. Davies says they offered to cover everything, but are paying half the cost, with Davies and Carlier covering the remainder.


Nov. 2, 2012

A Sicamous family is reaching out to their community for a little support this holiday season that will help see them through their son’s open-heart surgery.

Four-year-old Tyson Dean, son of Ryan and Colleen Dean, was born with a ventricle septal defect (VSD) – a small hole in a heart ventricle. Such a defect typically gets smaller over time and can close its own. In Tyson’s case, the hole has gotten smaller, but is still present. Furthermore, the healing process has created another problem for the boy’s heart.

“What has happened is the hole has gotten smaller, but the heart has worked so hard to heal the hole that he has developed extra muscle bundles, which create pressure on the heart,” explains Ryan. “So they have to go in and remove these muscle bundles. So he’s looking at an open-heart surgery.”

On Dec. 6, Ryan, Colleen and Tyson have an appointment at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver to see if Tyson is in need of surgery right away, or if he can return home and enjoy Christmas with his parents and three-year-old sister Kylie, and return for the surgery in January. Either way, the dark-haired, brown-eyed boy is facing a potentially lengthy hospital stay.

Ryan, Colleen and Kylie plan to be by his side, regardless of how long it takes. With only Colleen working right now, however, Ryan acknowledges the family will be facing some financial hardship over the coming months. So he has taken it upon himself to fundraise for his son and family.

“I’m trying to organize a dinner, silent auction and hopefully some music,” says Ryan who, during the summer is a cook at Hyde Mountain Golf Course. With Kim Hyde’s assistance, Ryan is organizing a roast beef dinner, dance and auction for Saturday Nov. 24, upstairs at the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre. Salmon Arm musicians Aimie Laws and Ian Hill are slated to perform. A few items have already been donated for the auction, such as golf passes, a stay at the Best Western and an NHL jersey signed by Shea Weber.

Along with the dinner, Ryan is talking to anyone and everyone who might have advice, or who might be able to assist, and says he’s already received a lot of valuable tips from neighbours. He notes that fundraising is a new experience – that he and Colleen have always paid for the numerous trips to the Lower Mainland required for Tyson’s heart condition, and for treatment last year of a serious blood disorder that Tyson has since recovered from.

“The expenses this time around – I need winter tires on my jeep to get down there for his appointment in December, we’ve got two dogs we’ve got to put in kennels, the list doesn’t end and we just financially can’t do it,” says Ryan. “Christmas is around the corner. We’ve had struggles of our own at home like every family does.”

Despite all the stress for the Deans, there is a silver lining, that being the operation itself. Ryan says while there’s always  potential for a negative outcome, he is confident in the specialist looking after Tyson.

“I really like him because he’s straight to the point, one of these guys who doesn’t sugarcoat anything – at the same time, he’s great, he cares,” says Ryan. “And what he says is it when it comes to this type of operation, and what he’s getting done, is more of a cakewalk for these doctors. It sounds like there’s not too much worry, but you are opening up a four-year-old little boy.”

Ryan says he and his family haven’t been in Sicamous long, but they have come to embrace the community they currently call home. And they hope to be back home as soon as possible after Tyson’s surgery, but Ryan expects their stay in Vancouver could be up to a month, and says any help would be appreciated.

Anyone with an item to donate for the Nov. 24 dinner, dance and auction, or who might be able to provide other forms of assistance, may call Ryan Dean at 250-803-1459, or Kim Hyde at 250-833-8085. Donations can be also be made through the Facebook page, Open Your Heart for Tyson at:

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