Dustin Pickel passes away quietly Tuesday

Dustin Pickel, the threeyear old whose brave fight against an insidious form of cancer galvanized an entire community into action, died Tuesday.

Dustin, the son of Jeff and Kelly Shoemake Pickel— and grandson of (former Rockdale Mayor) John and Sharon Shoemake— passed away at 4:40 p.m. at his grandparents’ house in Rockdale.

Funeral services were pending at presstime Wednesday. The funeral will be at St. John’s United Methodist Church, possibly on Saturday although that was an extremely tentative date at presstime.

Dustin battled stage four neuroblastoma cancer for more than 20 months with treatments in several hospitals including New York City’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

He was “adopted” by the Rockdale community and literally hundreds of volunteers who turned out at the KC Hall last Aug. 11 for one of the most massive events in the venue’s history.

That “Team Dustin” event raised $110,000 for his cancer treatments.

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