Brews, Bites & Beats is a Brisbane based event where families with children diagnosed with cancer, along with their supporters, come each year to eat, drink and be merry. As the organisers say, “It’s a night for the kids, only don’t bring them with you!”
On Saturday 7 September 2019 the event celebrated a third consecutive year of “raising the roof and our middle fingers at childhood cancer,” said Tanya Allan whose daughter Lara was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2017 at six years of age.
This year the event came of age. Stepping up from being held in school halls to a beautiful boutique function room at Cloudland. Hosts for the night were two drag queen performers; Sellma Soul who appeared on television’s The Voice Australia and Bebe Gunn.
“So often when a fundraising event occurs, the first thing we count is the dollars raised,” said Tanya, who holds a place on the organising committee. “Dollars were raised, but we also celebrated the relationships that help childhood cancer families get through treatment. We celebrated a community who unshakingly support us. We celebrated the ability of the human spirit to experience joy in the midst of sadness,” she said.
Revellers raised $7,500 on a night that was described as being full of laughter and hope with only a few tears.
“Every time a Find a Le’Cure cocktail (formerly known as an espresso martini) was sold, a hand bell was rung followed by cheers of “Find a Le’Cure”,” said Tanya. “Because every child with cancer should get to ring the bell.”
Ringing the bell is a ritual that children (and often adults) practice around the world to signal end of treatment. On 1 July this year, Tanya’s eight-year-old Lara rang the bell at Queensland Children’s Hospital after an intense and physically taxing journey.
Tanya was invited to speak on the night and as she looked around the packed room, she said she was overwhelmed by the sea of people who all refuse to give in to the disease that kills more Australian children than any other, “…it was full of people who were there to rage at cancer.”
“Every time cancer throws us or ours to the ground, we will get up, wipe away our smudgy mascara and do something because surrender to childhood cancer is not an option,” said Tanya who founded Bravery Box, a charity that supplies surprises for kids in hospital who have braved a treatment or procedure.
Tanya’s speech | Mum gives kids’ cancer a verbal dressing-down
Childhood cancer needs to take a look around this room and I have something to say to it. We are coming for you in numbers you cannot imagine. Don’t get comfortable, do not mistake these tears for weakness because check out this army of people who are saying get your filthy hands off our children. Childhood cancer, one day you are going to be old news, one day you’re going to be a horror story told by our children to their grandchildren. Cancer, I am not a clever scientist who can puzzle you out but we sure as hell can throw a party that’s going to throw some money at curing you.
After her speech, the room erupted with jeers at childhood cancer and cheers for those fighting so hard to see the end of it, “then, there was dancing. So much dancing!,” said Tanya.
All funds raised on the night were donated to The Kids’ Cancer Project, an independent national charity supporting bold scientific research that will ‘puzzle cancer out’.
“We support The Kids’ Cancer Project because it has the lofty goal of eradicating childhood cancer,” said Tanya, “And that is definitely something Brews, Bites & Beats can get behind.”