Comedy and cancer are not usually words associated with one another, however, the two will come together for a good cause at the upcoming comedy club fundraiser for social justice activist and mental health advocate Alex Pirie.
As an activist Alex might be experienced in putting up a good fight but now he is fighting a new battle. This time for his life.
In November 2018 Alex’s world was turned upside down when he was formally diagnosed with advanced intestinal adenocarcinoma (cancer of the small intestine).
Known for his role as a former Regional Organiser for Action Station, an English as a Second Language teacher, social media strategist and his involvement in many other organisations, his friends are banding together to give back with a fundraising comedy gig at The Classic.
The event promises to be a night of guaranteed laughs featuring organiser and friend Brendhan Lovegrove (TVNZ’s Night at The Classic), Justine Smith (The New Zealand Comedy Guild ‘Best Female Comedian’ 2008), Melanie Bracewell (winner of the 7 Days Comedy Apprentice competition 2014), Eli Matthewson (7 Days, AoteroHa) and Josh Thomson (The Project and 7 Days) with more to be announced soon.
“I’m just glad I’m in a position where I am able to help,” said Brendhan. “A fundraiser is a really good way to donate because it’s a celebration of somebodies existence. Everyone can come together for a common cause. That’s a really good way to give because you get some enjoyment out of it and it’s going to a good person.”
Brendhan says he knows many other people who have been positively influenced by Alex even without having ever met him in person.
“I think it’s great that he helped me tackle my mental illness when he didn’t know me. That’s just terrific especially at a time when [mental illness] is more prevalent than it’s ever been. He was happy to give me his number and have a chat.
“Life’s such a bizarre thing that someone so helpful and kind has to suffer from one of the worst misfortunes.”
Social activist and public figure Hadley Grace Robinson-Lewis is also on board and has launched a Givealittle fundraising page. Funds will go towards helping Alex enjoy life with his wife Karly and potentially clinical trials in the future.
Alex has just finished his fifth round of chemotherapy and is planning some small trips around New Zealand with his wife to see how they manage. They hope to plan further overseas trips if his health is stable.