Aspen Deke is recovering well from this latest bout of infection and was able to be around the house when more than 50 people came earlier this month to help her family give their home some attention it needed.

Aspen Deke is recovering well from this latest bout of infection and was able to be around the house when more than 50 people came earlier this month to help her family give their home some attention it needed.

Brandi Martin, from Lee’s Summit and a high school friend of Eric’s, coordinated the event that started, she said, by reading updates on the Deke’s Web site that provides information for friends and family to keep up on Aspen’s health status.

“Somebody told me Aspen was sick and I went onto their site one day and it said they finally had a weekend to get caught up around the house,” Martin said. “I posted a comment asking if they would want help mowing the lawn and cleaning and doing chores around the house. When Eric said yes, I sent an e-mail to people I knew from high school asking if they wanted to help.”

Many people responded to Martin’s e-mail and soon the invitation spread to Facebook, recruiting more than 50 people to join the effort.

Through monetary donations and gift cards from Home Depot, the Deke’s received nearly $4,000 in addition to drywall, laminate flooring, and other supplies needed to fix up the house.

“I was not expecting it to be anywhere near that size. It turned out to be a high school reunion for the (Blue Springs High School) Class of ‘91.” Eric said. “It’s not going to make Aspen better but it will take the stress off Amanda and I so we can enjoy time with our kids.”

Eric and Amanda have two sons, Alex, age 8, and Evan, age 2.

The day, according to both Eric and Martin, was a success.

The volunteers set up a play area for a swing set for the children, landscaped the front yard and replaced drywall and insulation in the garage and in the house.

Though there is still work to be done on the house, the Dekes are appreciative of the work that was completed.

“Eric commented before anyone showed up that for the last two years he’s been a cancer dad and that’s everything he’s been about,” Martin said. “He was really looking forward to all of these friends so he could just be EJ for a day. If anything, he enjoyed catching up and being relieved of that stress for a few hours.”

During a break from all of the work that was going on, Rep. Bryan Pratt and Rep. Curt Dougherty presented the Deke family with a plaque showing a resolution passed by the Missouri House of Representatives declaring June 14 Aspen Deke Day. Additionally, the Dekes received the United States flag and the Missouri state flag that were flown at the capital the day the resolution passed.

“It really caught me off guard. It wasn’t cool, it was awesome,” Eric said. “That’s one of my fondest memories. It was really, really cool.”

Pratt said he and Eric have been friends since they were in school at Blue Springs. He has kept up on Aspen’s health status and when he received a call asking if he wanted to help out, he said “absolutely.”

When Pratt arrived at the house, he went to work helping paint inside walls and the trim outside.

He has plans to go back to the house with other volunteers to help finish the projects that they didn’t have time to get to.

“They are a wonderful family and they have been through so much and so many different trials that it made it so easy for Eric’s friends to come help,” Pratt said.

“The main reason I did it was because it was a family in need and Eric has been such a great friend over the years. I was so excited to help my friend and his family.”

Eric works for the post office and Amanda for AAA Health, but they have both had to miss a lot of time from work. Some fundraisers are being planned to help with all the bills.

“We have really good insurance but our biggest problem is all the time we have to spend away from work,” Eric said. “At one point we were gone for the better part of a month.”

Eric said the Shrout family that runs the racetrack in Grain Valley is planning a fundraiser that will donate proceeds from one of their race events to the Deke family to ease their financial burden.

The dates for the fundraiser have not been determined.