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Community rallies to support tea company owner through cancer battle

Local NewsCommunity rallies to support tea company owner through cancer battle

A local fundraising concert is being held in support of Steve Burchell, Owner of Steve’s Tea Company and Tea Room in Brantford, and will be held at the Rope Factory Event Hall on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

Back in 2015, Burchell was diagnosed with cancer and was given a three-to-five-year life expectancy, but with the help of an alternative treatment back in England, he’s now been in remission for nine years and has beat his diagnosis twice.

“There was a big fundraiser back then when he needed to go home for three months, and he was able to receive treatment,” said Lana Burchell, Steve’s daughter and Managing Director of Steve’s Tea.

However, around November or December of last year, Lana noted that her father began not feeling well and became overly tired.

“He started feeling like something was wrong and so he went to do some testing and they saw that his PSA levels (cancer markers) were elevated,” she said.

Knowing that the alternative treatment, called hypathermia, has worked for him in the past, Steve has chosen to follow through with the same treatment this time around.

“He’s choosing to go with the holistic route again and to be under the auspices of a Naturopath Doctor, but that’s not covered under OHIP,” said Lana. “In other countries like England, Portugal and Spain, it’s covered, but it’s not covered here.”

With the treatment costing $5000, Lana started a GoFundMe page on February 6, to help pay for the machine so he could undergo treatment in Canada.

“We got over 50 per cent of the donations towards our goal in 24 hours because the communi-tea was just so supportive,” she said. “Within a week we had the rest of the amount that we needed and it’s been ordered from Australia, and it should be here this week so he can start treatment. He’s connected with his Naturopath, he was able to get his same cancer doctor from last time and things are just starting to move forward.”

Lana will continue to keep running the GoFunMe page and any other money donated will now go towards helping to pay any staff wages as Steve will be off for three months of treatment.

The father-daughter duo said that they are feeling humbled, grateful and overwhelmed by the support.

“There was one little kid who gave five dollars from their allowance, Steve’s friends that he’s been doing music with since the seventies have donated, and there are just people from all over the world who have shown up for him,” said Lana. “Steve’s a world traveler and is very friendly, so he’s picked up people along the way and they’ve been donating from places like England, Australia, the Bahamas, the U.S. and all over Canada. He’s my dad and I know he’s great, but to see that other people think he’s pretty awesome too, has been really lovely.”

Lana said it’s not just the financial help that means a lot to them, but more importantly, the emotional support.

“It’s the checking up on us, or sending lovely messages online and sharing his story, we feel blessed for all of that,” she said. “All sorts of people, customers, friends and community members have come out for him and I can see that his cup of love is just overflowing.”

Lana said that herself, along with the help of Phil Gillies, Joshua Wall, Tammy Hunt and other people in her network had already been planning to throw a fundraising concert when Jamie Stephens, owner of the Rope Factory Event Hall, reached out.

“They were going to be fundraising for a new fire alarm system, and I guess a private investor donated the amount that they needed for it, so Jamie reached out and said, ‘hey we have a tribute band, a venue and a date, and now we have no cause,’” she said. “They asked if we would like their fundraising concert and it was just another one of those serendipitous moments where things kind of fell into place.”

The upcoming Bash Cancer Bash will feature live music from 50 Mission, a local Tragically Hip tribute band, and a prize giveaway for a lifetime pass to Crewfest.

Tickets are $25 and the event is 19-plus. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and 50 Mission goes on at 8:00 p.m.

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