Look out, Brisbane – the third annual Brews, Bites & Beats event is coming your way! During a night of fun it promises to raise tens of thousands of dollars for The Kids’ Cancer Project.
A friend in need or a friend in deed? Keely Reid is both! As she watched her good friend Tanya Allan’s young daughter Lara suffering during treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Keely decided she had to do something to help.
Lara Allan with "Aunty Keely" on the day the little girl completed her treatment for leukaemia. Look closely at Keely's 'tattoo'.
“We’re so close that Lara is more like my niece,” Keely says. “So, when she was diagnosed as a six-year-old, I really struggled to come to terms with the fact that it was happening to her and that she was so young. I didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing.”
Some friends cook dinner for the family of the affected child, others knit socks. Some buy awesome teddy bears and others set up fundraising cake stalls. Keely decided instead to go big!
“I wanted to do something that would not just benefit Lara, but which would help countless other children going through the treatment, and fighting cancer,” she explains. “So, I just came up with an idea for a fundraiser then went ahead and organised it.”
That idea, three years later, has become a major date on the Brisbane social calendar. It’s an evening of music and food, beer and wine, dancing and merriment, known as Brews, Bites & Beats.
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Taking place on Saturday 7 September at The Warehouse in McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley, all funds raised go straight to The Kids’ Cancer Project. Keely is keen to help fund the sort of bold science that will bring about a 100 per cent, healthy survival rate of all children diagnosed with cancer.
“There is such strong community [support] around childhood cancer,” Keely says. “I have found that there are so many people that you didn’t realise were touched by it, or who knew someone who was touched by it. That’s why it was so easy for this event to grow.”
And grow it did! The first Brews, Bites & Beats event, which raised $10,000, was held in a school hall. As a band played music, German sausages were barbecued, and various craft beers were enjoyed by those who had bought tickets.
In the second year, Brisbane craft beer business Newstead Brewing Co came on board as a sponsor and supplied the drinks. A venue was provided, including professional service staff. Food trucks added to the flavour of the evening. That night, $22,000 was raised.
This year, the event offers an even higher level of sophistication, with live entertainment, cocktails, craft beers, wine and high-quality canapes, all served by professional wait staff. Tickets prices start at $85 (for a group of 10) and include three hours of basic drinks and canapes.
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So how does one woman stay motivated to organise such a major event, year after year?
Revellers at Brews, Bites & Beats 2018.
That’s simple, Keely says. She can see the benefits that science is offering to the treatment of children’s cancer, so she knows that what she is doing is making a real difference. That is what drives her.
“I did a psychology degree because my passion was to work in a hospital with less-fortunate children,” she explains. “I have always wanted to help children, and that is what I’m able to do with this event. I’m able to benefit those who are facing an enormous challenge. I’m able to help fund research that might bring a better result for them.”
“Science has already shortened the treatment time for boys with leukaemia, by one year, so they now have the same treatment as girls. That is an enormous change, for the boys and their families. Science will do so much more to improve treatments and improve outcomes. I’m not a scientist, but I want to know that I’ve done all I can to help that process.”