Dean Gunnarson: The Making of an Escape Artist
By Carolyn Gray
Great Plains Publications
This is a beautiful and magically written story that takes an inside look at how dealing with the challenges, pain, and life-threatening obstacles of having leukemia at 12 years-of-age helped shape Dean into the modern day daredevil that he is today.
It’s also a story of a friendship between two young boys, both battling cancer. Dean and his friend, Philip Hornan, set out on an epic adventure of escaping from R.C.M.P. detachments across Manitoba. As they learned to escape from handcuffs, straight jackets and jail cells, they soon faced their toughest challenge, escaping from Stony Mountain Penitentiary. Somehow they always found a way to achieve the impossible and escape their maximum security restraints.
As Philip’s cancer became incurable they searched for a miracle in psychics and faith healers. Even the legendary magician Doug Henning became friends with Phil and tried to find a magic way to help save his life. Sadly, Philip lost his fight with cancer at the young age of 15. This year marks the30th anniversary of his passing.
Shortly after Phil’s death, all the dreams and hopes that the two teenagers had planned started to materialize for Dean. He performed on the biggest stage of his life, on live TV in Los Angeles, in front of millions of people. Then two decades later Phil comes back into Dean’s life and gives him one last gift that changes his life forever