Ben Neil & Nick Vivian, owners of Newy Burger Co.
AS co-owners of a popular Hunter burger chain Ben Neil and Nick Vivian have an extensive group of fans they can call upon. Sometimes those fans even call on them.
They’re often approached to supply vouchers or donations for community raffles and events. And while they’re happy to offer what they can, it was the introduction to a four-year-old boy who had leukaemia that made them want to do more.
“Three-and-a-half years ago we were introduced to Kane Ransom, some people were doing a fundraiser and asked for a voucher,” Mr Neil said.
“We both have kids and my little boy’s about the same age as Kane. He was just such an amazing little guy, he was going through deep chemo but he was just a little fighter.”
Asked what was it about the young boy that prompted the pair to begin organising a fundraiser for the Ransom family, Mr Neil said it was Kane’s inspiring attitude.
“Just his spirit, he looked sick, but his little spirit was amazing. They used to come in every couple of weeks and he’d be forever laying punches into us.”
The initial fundraiser for Kane raised vital funds for the Ransom family, but it also led to the pair’s second major campaign.
“We had some great local business support and we’ve got a really strong fan base who wanted to jump on board. So we were really lucky we raised a few dollars for them.
“Thankfully, Kane went into remission. But then one of the families who were really big supporters of us supporting Kane, found out that their little girl had brain tumors.”
That family had provided products for some of the raffle prizes and auctions during Kane’s fundraising. Now they’d been struck down themselves.
So Mr Neil and Mr Vivian arranged a fundraiser for the family. When it happened, over $60,000 was raised.
Tragically, the girl’s brain tumors ended up being inoperable and she passed away.
And in another blow, the Ransom family were also recently handed some bad news. Late last year, Kane relapsed with his leukaemia.
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So the pair commenced the fundraising again. Just before Christmas, a ticketed show was held at the Cambridge Hotel. Mr Neil called upon his business network and again their connections delivered. Murray's Brewery, Bao Brothers, wine companies and the hotel itself all chipping in.
The pair say over $140,000 has been raised across the collective community fundraising endeavors.
“We don’t pitch ourselves as being pioneers, we’re just the vehicle to connect like-minded people who want to help out.”