The kind-hearted staff of a Singapore cafe are rallying round to raise money for their head chef, who was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer and is struggling to pay for treatment.
Sebastian Tan, who is just 26 years old, was diagnosed with lung cancer around a fortnight ago. It has now spread to both lungs, as well as his brain, bones and lymph nodes.
Sebastian has completed his first round of radiotherapy, but is unable to afford further treatment.
As the eldest child of a Malaysian family, Sebastian is the main breadwinner who sends his wages back home, and he does not want to burden his family with the costs of his treatments.
That's why the cafe where he works, Strangers' Reunion, has launched a 'Save-A-Stranger' campaign, to raise the vital funds Sebastian needs.
On every Tuesday, when the restaurant is usually closed, the cafe will now open as usual. A handful of staff will volunteer at the cafe, with all proceeds going towards funding Sebastian's treatment.
Strangers' Reunion sister cafe, Curious Palette, will also take part in the fundraising drive.
"Sebastian, our dear friend, and the head chef of Strangers’ Reunion since the beginning – has been recently diagnosed with stage four cancer which has spread to four different parts of his body at just 26 years old. The treatments are proving to be substantially costly, as he unfortunately does not have the appropriate insurance coverage to tide him through this period of time," reads the post.
"We are sure he’s touched the lives of many who have been to Strangers’ Reunion, and the many people who have worked with him. He’s been there for countless blogger events, food-tasting sessions, and tirelessly working in the kitchen, making sure that the food on your table tastes good."
According to the Facebook post, the cafe will continue to open on Tuesday until $100,000 has been raised. And if Sebastian needs further treatment, it will reopen on Tuesday until he is well.
The heartfelt post has started to go viral, with more than 1,100 shares (and counting).
Well wishers have commented inviting their friends to attend the cafe to help raise funds, those who are unable to attend have asked how to donate money to Sebastian.
According to The Straits Times, the cafe will continue to open on Tuesday until $100,000 has been raised. And if Sebastian needs further treatment, it will reopen on Tuesday until he is well.
Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, a spokesperson for the cafe said that when Sebastian learned of the fundraising drive he was "thankful and relieved".
"Treatment is definitely going to be costly, and we feel that money is the last thing he should be worried about. As much as possible, we would like for him to receive the best treatment available, without having to worry about finances nor about burdening his family."
Sebastian has been described as a "very positive and stoic".
"Even with this diagnosis, and everyone feeling sad and still coming to terms with his condition, he is the one who has been telling us to keep our spirits up and that everything will be okay. That's how he is - he takes things in his stride and deals with them, without any complains," the spokesperson explained.
The cafe are currently setting up a website for the fundraiser, which will be added to the article in due course.
[H/T The Straits Times]