Dells Boy Returns Home After Brain Tumor Treatment

DELL RAPIDS, S.D. — A brain tumor turned a Dell Rapids family’s life upside down a couple months ago.

After weeks of treatment, the Gerlach’s are back home.

“It was seven weeks,” says Derek Gerlach.

That’s how long 10-year-old Derek Gerlach has been away from home.

“To be home it brings me a new strength,” says Derek Gerlach.

This week the family of three was able to return from Derek’s cancerous brain tumor treatment at Mayo.

“Getting home and just being here and walking Derek into the house was amazing,” says Shane Gerlach.

Shane and Donelle Gerlach, Derek’s parents say it’s overwhelming being back. They’re also amazed at how the community has stepped up to help.

“We’ve been here two and a half years and the outpouring is immeasurable. It’s unbelievable,” says Shane Gerlach.

“I’m really grateful to have them behind me. I not only have my family in my corner I have all of Dell Rapids in my corner. I really have lost track of everybody who has given us stuff,” says Derek Gerlach.

Derek’s diagnosis a couple months ago isn’t the family’s first battle with cancer.

“Two Novembers in a row our world has been rocked. November 2017 Donelle was diagnosed with breast cancer fast forward a year,” says Shane Gerlach.

Now it’s Derek’s turn to fight. Though he’s not cancer free yet the bell sound marked the end of his proton radiation treatment at Mayo.

“It felt really good to be there to ring the bell and have everybody cheering,” says Derek Gerlach.

“You cry and you don’t know these people and you clap and you cry and the whole place goes crazy,” says Shane Gerlach.

The joy of the bell sound is sticking with the Gerlach’s just like the community.

Derek has four weeks off from treatment and then will resume chemotherapy at the Sanford Castle. Derek’s 11th birthday is on Monday. He’s planning to return to school sometime next week.

Categories: Community, Community Top Story, Health, Local News, News, News Top Story