Family Of Cancer-Stricken Willie Nelson Fan Recalls Unforgettable Meeting

Deanna Thomann

Willie Nelson made a dream come true for Iowa farmer Dean Thomann recently. Thomann had the opportunity to meet the country music legend at the Hinterland Music Festival in St. Charles, Iowa, after his daughters won a contest and secured him VIP tickets to the event. 

More than 150 submissions were entered into the contest aimed at music-loving dads, but the letter written by Thomann’s daughter stood out above the rest because of Dean’s “evident passion for music and his effort to pass that along to his children.”

Despite having just underone five weeks of intense chemotherapy treatments for his Stage 4 colorectal cancer and an impending surgery to remove a cancerous spot near his spinal cord, the 60-year old and his wife, Susan, traveled to the event for this once-in-a-lifetime meeting.

“He’s my favorite of all time,” Thomann said a week prior to Hinterland. “He’s been there. He’s done it. He’s been through the school of hard knocks like I have. He’s done his time, and he’s still doing it. I look at him as a classic icon.”

According to Thomann’s daughter Dana, the meeting with Willie Nelson was one to remember and a great distraction from her father’s cancer and upcoming surgery. 

“It was great to hear Willie ask Pa about ‘cow ponies’ and his herd,” Dana wrote on Facebook. “Pa repeatedly thanked Willie for representing us and continuing to represent the small, family farmer– not dependent on the corporates. It was odd to see my pa as a celebrity for a night– people photographing him with his sign. It’s not everyday a local, hard working farm boy gets away from the ranch, let alone receives some of the recognition he deserves for putting his family and farm first.”

The meeting between Thomann and Nelson was arranged by Farm Aid after the organization read Thomann’s story.

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