MSP trooper passes away, leaves legacy of defying odds

Dane Wedding 1.jpg
Posted at 8:28 AM, Apr 09, 2024

WESTPHALIA, Mich. — Dane Van Ells set out to be a Trooper with the Michigan State Police. Instead of taking on his first assignments patrolling the Mitten State, he spent his tenure as a trooper pushing the boundaries for cancer patients, living years beyond what was expected.

Dane Van Ells getting treatment

Soon after graduating, Van Ells was diagnosed with DIPG— a rare brain cancer. What's more; it was in the worst place possible— his brain stem.

"(It) tells the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe," his mother told FOX 17 in a January 2020 interview. Doctors had never seen the mutation in that region of the brain.

Originally, he was given 6-9 months to live— but that wasn't enough time. Dane began getting treatment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and underwent a risky biopsy to qualify for further treatments.

His new brothers and sisters in blue wasted no time opening their hearts to support his fight against the diagnosis, holding fundraisers to help him afford the long trek and stay at the Burzynski Clinic in Houston for an experimental treatment insurance didn't cover.

Dane Van Ells MSP fundraiser

The grim prognosis didn't stop him from a life well lived, getting married in May of 2021, and soon after welcoming a daughter into the world.

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He passed away surrounded by family on April 5 — 4 years after his diagnosis.

A funeral service for the 27-year-old will be held at the Pewamo-Westphalia High School Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 13 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the Van Ells family is asking memorial contributions be made to a fund set up to support his daughter's future. Reach out to the Lehman Funeral Home to make arrangements.