Following a series of heart-breaking diagnoses and loss, a fundraising hero has sought the help and support of his employer to help others with life-changing illnesses.
Dean Steadman, a former lorry driver at B.E Wedge Ltd, has raised thousands for cancer charities in honour of both his late sister, and wife. He sought support from local businesses, including his West Midlands-based employer, which is part of Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd.
Dean explained: “Back in 2013, my sister was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and given just 18 months to live. Over time it spread to her brain, and at age 34 I was her primary carer, assisting her around the clock – juggling work and other commitments. The devastation was overbearing, I was struggling, and I even considered taking my own life.
“Feeling out of my depth, I sought support from a well-known cancer charity, but due to staff shortages, they were unable to help. As a last resort, I contacted a local hospice – Compton Care – and they were the lifeline we needed. A nurse was provided, who stayed four nights a week, giving me a break and time to sleep. This invaluable care continued until my sister passed away.
“Determined to focus my grief into something positive, I endeavoured to start my fundraising journey, on a mission to make a difference and assist other families facing similar situations.
“I organised a sponsored lone sleepover in one of the UK’s most haunted houses – 30 East Drive, Pontefract, and hosted concerts in my local town. All proceeds were split between Cancer Research UK and Compton Care.”
Darren Phillips, General Manager at B.E. Wedge Ltd (left) and Dean Steadman, former lorry driver at B.E. Wedge Ltd, who has raised thousands for cancer charities in honour of both his late sister, and wife.
Compton Care, based in Wolverhampton, provides assistance to those with a complex or incurable condition, helping patients (and their families) to understand their diagnosis, their needs, and create a personalised package of care.
“Fast forward to 2021, my wife, Joanne, was diagnosed with cervical cancer,” continued Dean. “It had widely spread, and she was also given a terminal diagnosis. She, too, needed around-the-clock care, and again, Compton Care was fantastic – the nursing team were a huge support until her final hours. And at the age of 37, Joanne passed away.
“I’ve been a lorry driver at B.E. Wedge Ltd for five years, and feel incredibly grateful to them for their amazing support throughout Joanne’s diagnosis and treatment – not having to worry about work on top of caring for my wife was a true blessing.
“Not only that, but they’ve been brilliant in supporting my fundraising. Last year, along with The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton, I hosted ‘Rock & Ride’ – a charity motorcycle ride followed by a concert. Understandably, there are costs involved in organising events – from preparation, to advertising and insurance. I approached my manager, Darren Phillips, to see if the business had any scope for support, and without hesitation they covered the entire event, ensuring that all monies raised would directly benefit the charities. And what a success – together, we raised thousands.”
Darren Phillips, General Manager at B.E. Wedge Ltd, added: “We’re so proud of Dean and all his charitable achievements. Despite such terrible circumstances in losing his wife and sister over recent years, it’s wonderful to see the real difference he is making to others. Whilst we’re sad to see Dean moving onto pastures new in a new town, on behalf of all at Wedge Group Galvanizing, we’d like to wish him all the best with his next chapter and future fundraising endeavours.”
B.E. Wedge Ltd is part of Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, the largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years. With 14 plants strategically placed across the country, the firm offers a truly national galvanizing service.
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