Life as we know it is unpredictable and occasionally unfair. Just ask the Tavares family.

Brittney and Ryan Tavares are well known in the New Bedford area and have been up against some pretty heavy news over the past couple of years. Their rocky road began when Brittney was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and, following a brief victory, recently learned she has leptomeningeal disease in her spine and brain.

Her vision had been worsening since August and the migraines had become insufferable. Her lymph nodes have been removed and she is currently bed-bound at Tufts Medical Center fighting the good fight. She's strong, having kicked cancer's ass in the past, and is continuing to fight every day that passes.

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Together, the Tavareses have a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old.

"She wants everyone to know how truly grateful and blessed she and I are to have such an amazing community behind us by supporting, praying and sending all the love and positivity," Ryan said. "Brittney is in good spirits and we are all remaining positive and hopeful. It’s been incredibly amazing and humbling. However, I’m a commercial fisherman that can’t fish and leave the kids. There are so many things going through my head. It’s hard. At the end of the day, as long as my kids are happy and healthy, that’s all that matters."

The Tavares Family
The Tavares Family
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The community outpouring to help the New Bedford family has been incredible. One local chef and restaurant are stepping up to the plate in a big way to raise money for the Tavares clan.

"Bobby Afonso and I are always coming together to raise money for local families in need," Chef Joe Rego said. "The whole community is (helping) and me, as a person, I needed to lend a hand alongside Bobby who didn’t even hesitate when I asked for his help. His answer is always yes."

Top Shelf Bar & Grill
Top Shelf Bar & Grill
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Top Shelf Bar & Grill, 1825 Acushnet Ave., is hosting a fundraiser on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 5 to 8 p.m.

"We’re gonna have some great food, great raffle items, a live auction, and I'm even donating myself to raise more money for the family," Rego said. "We’re trying to do the unimaginable and go up and above to give them a chance financially."

The highest bidder on Rego will receive an all-expense-paid dinner for 10 people at their house featuring a four-course meal with paired wines.

Chef Joe Rego
Chef Joe Rego
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Brittney and Ryan have been inseparable for 20 years. Their anniversary was Oct. 18. Ryan has been the family's anchor during these difficult times and has remained strong for the kids, but with all the pressure on his shoulders, he tells Fun 107 that he has his days where his emotions bleed through.

"It comes in waves," he said. "Sometimes I’ll cry on the way up and back from Boston, but when I’m with her I stay strong. This is the longest the kids have been without her and it's been tough on all of us. One day at a time, that’s all we can do. I can’t wait to one day pay it forward tenfold to the community and everyone who has supported us."

Tickets are still available at Top Shelf for a $25 donation. Just stop in and ask a server or bartender, and someone will be able to take care of you so together, as a community, we can take care of the Tavares family.

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