WHERE: Mister Miller Coffee Co (formerly Michael’s Cafe Volare), 111 Pakington Street Geelong West
WHEN: Midday Saturday 17th May, 2014
WHY: To raise $5000 for cancer research**
No doubt, many Geelong-based readers will be aware that our local caffeine dispenser, Stephen Nardi, is raising money for cancer research. What many of you may not know is the reason why.
On the 17th of May 2004 Stephen had one of life’s biggest curve balls thrown right at him; that insidious “C” word. You know; the one that, more often than not, shatters dreams and steals lives? The sad reality is, we all know someone that has been afflicted by this disease. But being the remarkable young man that he is, he didn’t stop and feel sorry for himself. With the love and support of his close-knit family and friends, he picked the ball up and threw it right back in cancer’s face!
When you’re 17 and about to embark on your final year at school, the last thing you expect is to be diagnosed with cancer. What started out as an annoying back pain was quickly found to be something far more sinister. This type of cancer is unusual in someone so young, so three days after being diagnosed, he had surgery. After taking some time to recover from that, in July, began 3 rounds of chemotherapy.
Chemo might have killed the cancer, but not his spirit! Undeterred, he was determined to get back to school and finish year 12. He spoke about the importance of getting back to normality and with the support of the faculty and his mates at St. Josephs, he also organised his first cancer research fundraiser, which was a huge success! He was invited to make a speech at the final assembly, which he summarised for me: appreciate your education and time at school, as you may not realise what it means until it is taken away from you…..a bit like life really.
In an excerpt taken from his donation page, Stephen puts it all into perspective:
“Although at the time it seemed life ending, at 17 years old, facing my last year of high school, it would become a realisation that I was and still am one of the lucky ones. Some families are not so lucky when it comes to dealing with this selfish disease. Overcoming this illness gave me an understanding of change and how to deal with it when life throws you curve balls.
“This small accomplishment is something I feel I need to do. The last 10 years of my life have had its ups and downs but this morning I wake up appreciative of the gift of life and today I am thankful to share it with you!”
To mark 10 years since his diagnosis and 12 months since Stephen started growing his beard (much to his mother’s chagrin!) he would like to invite everyone to come along and watch him shave it off! So I guess the next question is; who will shave it off? Let’s put the call out to some of Geelong’s public figures. Mr Mayor? Billy Brownless? Cameron Ling? Any other suggestions?
WHERE/HOW CAN YOU DONATE? Stephen has set up a page with the Victorian Cancer Council so you can donate directly with them (see link at the top of this post), or you can donate at the window when you are buying your coffee. He will also be donating $1 from every coffee sold on the day of the great shave.
CAN I JOIN IN ON THE DAY? Absolutely; the more, the merrier! Just head down to Mister Miller (formerly Michael’s Cafe Volare) on Pakington Street prior to the day and speak to Stephen about participating.
**NOTE: At the time this post was published, he had already surpassed his $5000 target, with donations coming from as far away as Sweden, Canada & Ireland! What do you say Geelong; let’s help him double that!