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Friends Rally to Help Double Door Worker Facing $46,000 in Medical Bills

By Alisa Hauser | December 5, 2014 5:39am
 An online fundraiser is helping Tiffany Dean to tackle mounting medical bills.
An online fundraiser is helping Tiffany Dean to tackle mounting medical bills.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — Tiffany Dean works two very different jobs: as a hair stylist and as a security guard at Wicker Park's Double Door.

But that second job the single mom took on two years ago to save money for her son's college education is now proving to help her in another way as she tries to pay off $46,000 in medical bills from blood transfusions and an emergency hysterectomy at Stroger Hospital.

The club recently hosted the "Tiffany is Fundamental" fundraiser concert last month, organized by Dean's longtime friend, Joey Fitzpatrick, and MC'd by Herb Rosen, the owner of Liar's Club. It was attended by 107 people and helped to raise around $2,000.

"I'm just happy I can get back to hair clients and to Double Door now that the surgery is over and my kid is off to college," said Dean, who returned to her night job in late October after being out of work since Aug. 8.

 Tiffany Dean, a hair stylist that has been working in the area since the late 90s and a Double Door security worker.
Tiffany Dean
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Fitzpatrick also started an online GoFundMe campaign that has raised an additional $1,915.

"People have been generous. It's amazing how much care there is out there for Tiffany, or, T-Fanny, as I like to call her," Fitzpatrick said.

Born at Cook County Hospital during the Blizzard of 1978 and raised in Marquette Park, Dean moved to Logan Square in 1999 and describes herself as "anti-Public Aid."

Dean, who does not have medical insurance but works 70 hours each week between her day job at her salon, Chicago Chop Shop, 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave., and her night job at Double Door, refused several offers for financial help from friends before agreeing to the Nov. 19 fundraiser at Fitzpatrick's urging.

Dean's medical problems began on Aug. 8, after ending her shift at the Double Door.

"I was feeling blurry, in a dream state, like my legs were going to give away," Dean said.

The next day, Dean went to work and had to pause and sit down three times while giving a client a haircut.

"I noticed that a knot made up of scar tissue on my stomach that was formed after I delivered my son through a C-section, which sometimes swelled up, had been disappearing," Dean said.

A day later, Dean begin to bleed and took herself to the ER at Stroger Hospital.

"Doctors told me I had less than half the blood in my body than I was supposed to have," Dean said.

After receiving "four bags of blood" through infusions and spending three days in the hospital, Dean was sent home with several pills and antibiotics to alleviate her severely swelled uterus.

Dean returned to the hospital on Aug. 20 for a hysterectomy, and then after four days in the hospital, spent another three weeks recovering at home.

While recovering from the surgery, Dean's son moved to the dormitory at Columbia College, where he is a freshman studying Fine Arts, making her an "empty nester."

"She was put out of work for almost two months. That's definitely tough when you are a single mom," said Deanna Mullennax, a co-worker at Double Door who met Dean several years ago from running in the same concert-going circles with her.

Mullennax described Dean as "very community-driven, an old-school punk, part of the Belmont/Sheffield punk scene in the '90s and well known in the bar and music industry."

Dean, who came of age while going to ska/hardcore punk shows in Lakeview and Pilsen as a teen in the early 1990s, was a "straight edge punk," originating from the Minor Threat song "Straight Edge."  

Straight Edge punks vowed to not drink alcohol or take recreational drugs and many, including Dean, got Straight Edge tattoos.

Though she only joined the staff of Double Door's 25 workers two years ago, Dean was already known by so many folks in the industry that several businesses owners and local artist chipped in services and items for  the fundraiser concert's silent auction, while the club donated its main show floor.

"No matter what, we all still love each other and try to help each other out. If you work here, you are part of the family," said Brian Huebner, Double Door's operations manager and Dean's boss.

To contribute to the online fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/fundamental.

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