Megan Diane McLean
Cashiers’ own Megan Diane McLean, 42, a bright star of the community, lost her tough battle with cancer Saturday, May 25. Since 2014 when she was first diagnosed with cancer, she has been a fierce warrior fighting this insidious disease. Although the battle lasted five long years, she always maintained a positive outlook with her big smile -- even offering others support and advice in their own struggles.
Born Sept. 27, 1976 in Augusta, Georgia to Joseph Dean McLean of Valdosta, Georgia and Patricia Guy Chambers of Glenville, she grew up in Marietta, Georgia just outside Atlanta. Very active in competitive swimming and tennis, she was always an achiever throughout schooling. Smart as a whip, she at age 20 joined the U..S Air Force and after graduating boot camp qualified for the AWAC technical program, a highly sensitive intelligence gathering program. Unfortunately, due to an emergency medical condition, she was forced to leave the program and the Air Force.
Luckily, she met and married an Airman, and a year later delivered Jackson, followed two years later by Mayellen. After years living the Air Force life in Illinois, Texas and Georgia, she left that life and struck out on her own with her children.
Megan worked hard as a single mom in Atlanta and decided that it was too large for what she wanted for her children. In 2011, to be near her mother, she moved to Sapphire, where she vacationed with her beloved grandparents, Jack and Bea Guy, since 1978. She loved the Cashiers area, particularly Sapphire Valley, and decided it was the place to raise her children.
Continuing her love of the theater that began in Warner Robbins, Georgia, she became active in the Highlands-Cashiers Players in Highlands; acting was her passion and was a star actress in many plays.
She worked for Sapphire Valley Resorts for a while and then joined Keller Williams, where she was bitten by the real estate bug! She received her license and worked as a Realtor with Silver Creek Realty, where she met Dan Allen, her future partner and husband. Dan and Megan worked as a team for a number of years until they married just this past November.
Summer 2014 brought horrible news to Megan and her family -- cancer. She fought with treatments of radiation and suffered through seven different lines of chemotherapy, but always had a warrior's spirit. Cashiers’ community came together to support her fight, and she always thought she could beat the disease.
She went through a calm happy period of remission; however, after a while she found out the cancer had spread into the liver. Fighting the metastatic cancer with determination and the continuous help of her two wonderful children, she thought she may make it.
She even performed in plays in Highlands throughout her illness which astounded everyone; her children and Dan gave her the fighting spirit to overcome any obstacle. Meeting Dan was a gift from God because his love for her and her love of his farm gave her such serenity and a feeling of being close to God.
Planting her garden and organizing her greenhouse was such a blessing to her and gave her great solace. She not only enjoyed being the greatest of gardeners, she became quite the chicken master! She had them to care for which took her mind off of her own illness. She also was at peace knitting and crocheting articles of clothing for others.
As with all cancer patients, being susceptible to other diseases became a reoccurring issue within her body. While chemo treatments were helping the liver, the metastatic cancer cells were silently moving to the lungs. Megan had to endure more and different chemo drugs just to keep the liver cancer at bay; however, last year the cancer spread to her lungs. After several bouts with pneumonia and several surgeries, her children always by her side, she just became weaker but never complained.
Megan was such a fighter for life because of her love for her children. But, by the time breathing became more difficult, she did begin talking with her mother about how excited she would be to see her beloved grandparents in heaven. Over the past couple of weeks, she was ravaged by a horrible case of pneumonia and spent that time in the hospital; her children NEVER left her side at the hospital, and Dan only left for only a day or two. She was determined to get better, and her family with the doctor thought she was improving.
However, after a scan to check the progression of the lung cancer, it was learned that the last line of chemo was not working. The doctors all agreed nothing more could be done; she entered hospice.
With all her family members (and Petey, Dan’s dog, with his head laying on her bed), around her holding her hands and speaking to her lovingly, she drew her last breath around 7:45 p.m., May 25. Dan Allen took Petey outside just after Megan passed and asked Megan for a sign that she was okay. He turned to look up over his shoulder and saw the sky full of sunrays piercing the clouds above! She is free from pain and suffering now, forever happily dancing with Jack and Bea Guy in heaven.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to The American Breast Cancer Foundation. There will be a memorial service/celebration of life ceremony at the Village Green in Cashiers, Saturday, June 8 at 6 p.m. There will be chairs provided; however, bring a lawn chair to be assured a seat. In case of rain, the location will be Cashiers United Methodist Church. Attire is casual. Folks from the service are welcome to go to dinner at Mica's restaurant immediately following the service.
Megan is survived by both parents, Joseph Dean McLean of Valdosta, Georgia and Patricia Ellen Guy Chambers of Glenville; her children, Jackson C. Dunagan and Mayellen B. Dunagan of Sapphire; her brothers, Brantley G. McLean of Atlanta, Georgia and Matthew J. Whitt of Islamorada, Florida; her husband, Daniel Williamson Allen of Cashiers; her step-father, Nick Chambers; and her step-sisters, Lauren C. Tracy and Megan C. Cannon of Charleston, South Carolina, and Nicole C. Melton of Elmhurst, Illinois.