Local Obituaries

As she fought skin cancer, Goddard mom encouraged people to get their own skin checked

Danielle Dick encouraged the people she met to have their skin checked and to wear sunscreen. The 32-year-old wife and mother of three children died April 25 from metastatic melanoma.
Danielle Dick encouraged the people she met to have their skin checked and to wear sunscreen. The 32-year-old wife and mother of three children died April 25 from metastatic melanoma. Courtesy photo

Danielle Dick loved her family, sports and music concerts.

But she especially loved her life. She encouraged the people she met to have their skin checked and to wear sunscreen.

The 32-year-old wife and mother of three children died April 25 from metastatic melanoma.

A funeral mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday (May 1) at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Clonmel.

Danielle Gorges was born Oct. 11, 1985, in Wichita. She grew up in Clearwater and graduated from the Clearwater High School in 2004. She received her bachelor's degree in biology at Newman University in 2008 and her master's degree in physical therapy from Wichita State University in 2012.

She met her husband, Tyler Dick, in June 2004 at a call center in west Wichita. They were married July 5, 2008.

In 2010, her husband noticed a small mole on her back. It was removed and diagnosed as melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer.

"They thought they got it all but it came back and was in her brain and throughout her body," Tyler Dick said.

In April 2017, when she was pregnant with twins, she had difficulty speaking. She was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors found three tumors in her brain and two others in her abdomen. The tumors were all connected to melanoma.

Her treatment to fight the cancer was limited until the twins — a girl, Reagan and boy, Colby — were delivered on July 12, 2017, at 29 weeks. From that point on, she aggressively fought the cancer, Tyler Dick said.

"She was incredibly strong throughout the whole thing," he said. "She always focused on the next task as far as the treatment was to get her better. We didn't say ... we didn't ever act like she was dying, just that she was sick and would get better. We did a lot of bucket list things — but we never called them that."

The family went to the ocean, to Pensacola, Florida, where she swam with dolphins and went para-sailing. They went to Las Vegas and saw her favorite rock band, The Killers. And, in March, they went to March Madness games in Wichita.

She loved watching sports: the Chiefs, Royals and Shockers.

She loved spending time with family.

"We did everything together," Tyler Dick said. "We really liked home renovation stuff and lived in a house for five years, then flipped it. We bought a house a year and half ago and moved to Goddard. She liked watching HGTV. The main thing she loved was spending time with the kids and taking them to the zoo and park."

The family went to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to meet with melanoma specialists.

"She was going to start a clinical trial, but she got too sick and couldn't start the treatment," Tyler Dick said.

As medical expenses and now funeral expenses have mounted, a GoFundMe site was started for the family, https://www.gofundme.com/dani1985. So far, it has raised more than $35,000.

"She believed it was so important (for people) to have their skin checked," Tyler Dick said. "She was on TV and in the newspaper several times always with the message to go get checked. If hers had been identified early enough, we might not be here."

Mrs. Dick is survived by her husband, Tyler; children, Taylor, Reagan and Colby Dick; parents, Larry and Michelle Gorges of Clearwater; sisters, Cara (Ben) Kerr, Rachel (Chad) Gayer, of Wichita; brother, Brett Gorges of Lakewood, Colorado; grandparents, Jim Leibold of Clearwater, Delmer and Pat Gorges of Wichita.

In lieu of flowers, the family has created a memorial: the Danielle Dick Children Fund, in care of the Meritrust Credit Union, 13710 W. Maple, Wichita, 67235.

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