In partnership with Print Digital Media, money raised from the sales of matchday programmes for Saturday’s game against Dagenham & Redbridge will be donated to the NHS.
Dean Newman of Print Digital Media readily agreed to provide the programmes free of charge in order to help support the NHS. Dean, who is a long-term commercial partner of the club and a former Spireites director, has a personal reason for thanking the NHS after being treated for melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
Taking up the story, Dean said: “I’d got a little mole on my leg, which gradually started to grow. Being a typical man, I ignored it, but my wife said that I needed to get it checked by a doctor, so I went to get it checked and they told me to keep an eye on it.
“My grand-daughter came to visit one day, caught the mole with the buckle on her shoe. It went jet black and wouldn’t stop bleeding.
“I kept putting it off until I finally went back to the doctor. He took one look at it and said that I needed to go to the hospital. Within an hour, I was down at the skin clinic in Chesterfield. The medic there took one look at it and said, ‘I think we need to cut it out’. I asked if she was going to send me a letter, but she said, ‘No, we’re going to do it now’.
“They cut it out there and then before sending it off for analysis. They said if, ‘If it’s bad news, we’ll contact you within ten days. If you don’t hear from us, everything is alright’. Around five o’clock on day ten, I received a phone call from the hospital saying, ‘Can you come in at nine o’clock in the morning and bring somebody with you’? They were the words that you don’t want to hear.
“After several meetings with a plastic surgeon and an oncologist, it was decided that I would require a large operation to remove all the surrounding area from the original site of the cancer.
“They then performed another small operation to take lymph nodes out of my groin. They can then see whether the cancer has spread or if it’s got into your bloodstream. After waiting for around two or three weeks after the operation, they rang to say yes, it had got into my lymph nodes.
“It was Stage 3 cancer and I faced 13 months of chemotherapy, which was tough. The first three months was horrendous. I was really poorly. It was during COVID, so I had to go on my own. I couldn’t take anybody with me, which was hard, but the nurses were unbelievable.
“Then it was on to three-month scans. The first couple of months were fine but then they found three tiny marks on my brain, so I had to go and see an oncologist. They then grew to six and were a little bit larger.
“The worst point was when my wife told the oncologist that I’d convinced myself I’d only got six months to live. She just looked at her and said, ‘Well, I’m not really sure what we can do’. That was a hard time.
“At that time, James Rowe had come along and fortunes for the club had improved. Everybody I talked to just told me to stay positive and the team doing well really helped. The likes of John Croot, Mike Goodwin, Nick Johnson, Jim Brown and Bridget Ball from the club kept in regular contact, which was really kind and a big help.
“After that, I had to see a neurologist and they couldn’t operate on the brain so I had to have what they call stereotactic radiation where they screw a metal frame to your head so they can hold you into the radiation chamber whilst they do the operation. I had to go on my own, which was hard. I can’t imagine what people with COVID have had to go through, having no visitors.
“The nurses were tremendous and I can’t thank them enough. The support they give you at Weston Park is fantastic. They’ve always got time to listen to you and keep you going.
“It was a four-hour operation and luckily since then, the last two scans have shown that it’s regressed a little bit. There are little marks on my liver and kidney which have not progressed at all.
“It’s a lot more positive and it’s stable now. I’ve got to have scans every three months, which is difficult because you get worked up and wait for the results to come through. The chemotherapy and the radiation have worked so it’s getting better now rather than worse.
“It was a really dark time and I’m so grateful to the nurses, people at the club and my wife and family for all the support I’ve received.
“Raising money for the NHS is a small thank you for the care and support they have provided and I would urge everyone to donate whatever they are able to afford.”
Programmes will be on sale in the Club Superstore and outside the stadium for a minimum donation of £2 in the build-up to kick-off.
*Dean Newman (right) is pictured with Spireites chief executive John Croot.