A 53-year-old Halifax man who has been a fixture in the kitchen at Bearly’s House of Blues is now being helped by the many people he’s helped feed over the years.
Three weeks ago Andre Martin learned he had a five-centimetre-long cancerous growth on his brain and a mass on his lungs.
"It was a slight inconvenience, to say the least," he says. "But I had to process the fact that left untreated, I had three months possibly to live. This was cancer. So I had to let go of the process of literally dying."
Martin worked on and off as a chef at Bearly’s, which also hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year.
"I’m really happy I learned how to cook because I was able to feed a lot of people in Halifax and worked in some nice places, funky places," he says. "It's been all good, really. No complaints."
Martin’s friends and former co-workers have organized a fundraiser for this Sunday at Bearly’s, featuring many of the musicians who play on a regular basis.
Brent Tingley once worked in the kitchen and says Martin has a strong personality, something that drew him to the former chef.
"My name is Brent Tingley and this weekend I'll be ‘Buck’ Tingley," he laughs. "In this case it’s a guy who's really close to the community. Andre spent a lot of time here. No question it's time to come back and gather again."
Shiella Lopes is Martin's best friend and organized the afternoon. She hopes he takes away a simple message from the day.
"How much he's loved and how much people care about him," she says. "We're fighting there with him. He's not fighting alone. He's fighting there with a whole lot of people hand in hand."
Money raised will help to cover Martin’s rent and daily expenses. The music starts Sunday afternoon.