An upcoming fundraiser in Ionia is set to help pay for medical expenses for a Michigan State Police trooper battling a brain tumor.
A yard sale, bake sale and car wash to support MSP Trooper Dane Van Ells is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Ionia Fairgrounds, 317 S. Dexter St., in Ionia.
George’s Concession will provide fair-type food and a raffle is scheduled to take place, said organizer Sarah Shattuck.
Those interested in donating “good used condition” items for the yard sale and returnables can contact Shattuck’s husband — Trooper Scott Shattuck — at 616-914-2028. There are plans to have a pick-up and drop-off location for returnables on Sept. 12.
“Everything that we make from the bake sale, the yard sale and the car wash will go directly to Dane... Hopefully that’s a good turnout for him,” Sarah Shattuck said.
Van Ells, of Pewamo, is a 2016 graduate of Pewamo-Westphalia High School. He graduated from the 135th Trooper Recruit School in 2019 and was assigned to the MSP Lakeview Post.
In November 2019, Van Ells was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A GoFundMe page was launched to support Van Ells and a fundraiser took place in January at P-W High School, with both receiving positive support, Shattuck said.
Since January, Van Ells has been receiving chemotherapy treatment at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.
“There’s been some but very little progress,” Shattuck said.
Van Ells was given one to three years to live by the University of Michigan, Shattuck said.
Van Ells’ family located a doctor in Houston — Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski — who has had success in treating his type of cancer. The treatment, however, is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — meaning Van Ells’ medical insurance won’t cover testing or medications.
“All this money has to come out of pocket,” Shattuck said.
After Van Ells’ family learned his prognosis and spoke with families in and out of state that had someone receive treatment from Burzynski, his medical records were forwarded to Texas, Shattuck said.
“They felt this was the next road they needed to take,” Shattuck said.
Van Ells departed for Texas on Saturday, Aug. 8, after attending the funeral of fellow MSP Trooper Caleb Starr, who died on July 31 after injuries suffered in a July 10 crash.
Van Ells and Starr graduated from the same Trooper Recruit School and were each assigned to the MSP Lakeview Post.
Van Ells and his mother arrived in Texas Sunday, Shattuck said. The medical costs are expected to be roughly $20,000 per month out of pocket, she said.
“We’re doing some additional fundraising to try and bring in whatever we can get to offset those costs,” Shattuck said.
Biggby Coffee, 2331 S. State Road, in Ionia is offering vouchers that allow $1 of purchases to go toward Van Ells.