Life-long wrestling fan Dean Mitchell admits he was devastated after being diagnosed with cancer last year but he vowed to raise money for charity when he heard professional wrestler Kris Travis also had the disease.
The 46-year-old, from Deal Close in Huntingdon, was told he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August and received treatment at the Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
In April, Dean, who runs a website-based radio show for wrestling fans, organised a 30-hour marathon broadcast to raise money for the Macmillan Woodlands Appeal.
“We started at 4pm on Good Friday and we finished at 10pm on Easter Saturday,” said Dean.
“The wrestling world took us to their hearts because they couldn’t believe this had happened to us two guys, and Kris is worse off than me as he had an operation in October to remove 70 per cent of his stomach.”
The epic fundraising show featured music, chat and an auction of items, including a wrestling belt which fetched £140, and raised £650.
Dean, who is a technical support operator at Huntingdonshire District Council, said when he found out one of his wrestling heroes had cancer he sent a Twitter message and was delighted when Kris, who is part of the Southside Wrestling team, replied.
“We started sending each other messages and I think it helped to keep our spirits up. We swapped stories and Kris asked me lots of questions about the treatment as I was a bit further down the line.”
Dean has now completed his treatment, but says he will continue to raise money for the Woodlands Centre after experiencing the cramped conditions there.
“My sister and brother came down from Sheffield because they wanted to support me, but because they’d got so many people in, the staff had to say they could only get one person in with me so the family took it in shifts,” he said.
“The staff were the best and the funniest people. I have such a fear of needles, but I couldn’t feel the needle going in, they’re that good. Absolutely amazing, all the staff.”
“From the moment you walk through the door, someone’s always there with a smile. But when you’re in there, it’s so cramped and the staff are just rushed off their feet. It just seems like, ‘wow can’t we make this bigger’?”
INFORMATION: If you want to raise money for the appeal, call 0300 1000 200.