Portia Swain fundraiser: Restaurateur Michael Dearth offers long lunch on luxury boat to help brain cancer victim


Proceeds from a luxurious lunch on the water with Baduzzi and Savoy Charters will help fund treatment for Portia Swan who has had surgery for a brain tumor. Photo / Supplied

Top restaurateur Michael Dearth is offering a luxury day out on the Hauraki Gulf with food from his restaurant Baduzzi to help a 14-year-old girl with brain cancer.

The Master Chef judge and owner of Baduzzi and The Grove has teamed with luxury boat business Savoy Charters to raise money for the family of Portia Swan.

The young teen is battling a cancerous brain tumour usually seen in adults.

Portia’s parents Matthew and Penny Swan of Auckland said their world was “turned upside down” eight weeks ago when they learned their youngest daughter Portia Rose Swan had a 4.5cm x 2.5cm tumour on the left front side of her brain.

Michael Dearth, owner of inner city restaurants The Grove and Baduzzi, will provide a long lunch to help brain cancer teen Portia Swan. Photo / Babiche Martens
Michael Dearth, owner of inner city restaurants The Grove and Baduzzi, will provide a long lunch to help brain cancer teen Portia Swan. Photo / Babiche Martens

Since then 90 per cent of the tumour has been removed with surgery and Portia is undergoing treatment for the remaining 10 per cent.

The pathology results show the tumour is a grade 3 Astrocytoma.

Dearth heard of the family’s plight and called Matthew Swan to offer his help.

“I know Matt and Penny and I have children the same age and as a dad when you hear stuff like this you feel horrible and you want to help any way you can,” Dearth said.

“I know people in my industry who own wineries and a friend who has a very large boat and I thought ‘let’s do a Baduzzi long lunch, out on the water, something people will bid for and it will go to a good cause’.”

Dearth made a call to his friends at Savoy Charters and Sapori D’Italia wines to pull together an amazing day on the water for 20 people.

The Baduzzi Long Lunch will be held aboard luxury 16m powercat The Savoy to raise money for teen Portia Swan.
The Baduzzi Long Lunch will be held aboard luxury 16m powercat The Savoy to raise money for teen Portia Swan.

“We can go out and have a lovely day, have some wine on a beautiful boat, jump in the ocean, have some food, make a day of it and raise a glass for Portia,” Dearth said.

“Hopefully this will take her a step closer to affording this expensive treatment.”

Greg Owen from Savoy Charters jumped at the chance to be involved and provide the company’s luxury catamaran for the day.

“My wife passed away from cancer so I know exactly how they are feeling,” Owen said.

“In the hospital seeing young children going through what my wife was going through was pure heartache and we really felt for their parents.”

Owen said the long lunch would be an amazing experience for a group of friends or a company Christmas party.

“We can take them anywhere on the harbour and they can do whatever they want for the day.

“They can go fishing, paddleboarding and sea-biscuiting but there is also so much sea life to enjoy, when you are on a boat in the harbour you get to see whales, dolphins and seals.

“We can take them to the bottom end of Waiheke or Rakino (Island) and just take the time to explore.”

Portia Swan, 14, recovering in hospital after surgery to remove a tumour on the left frontal lobe of her brain. Photo / Supplied
Portia Swan, 14, recovering in hospital after surgery to remove a tumour on the left frontal lobe of her brain. Photo / Supplied

The 16m power catamaran The Savoy has plenty of space to relax and lounge, dive, swim, wine and dine with two entertainment levels.

Food and beverages throughout the day would be provided by local wineries and breweries and lunch by Baduzzi – famous for its Italian cuisine and meatballs.

The Baduzzi Long Lunch will be auctioned on Trade Me and proceeds would help pay for alternative treatments for Portia.

The type of cancer Portia has is fast growing and the family know they have to try every treatment available to beat it – no matter the financial cost.

The couple are looking at recommended treatments overseas and researching every alternative treatment they can.

Immunotherapy alone is estimated to cost around $100,000 and the family are down to one income as mum Penny Swan has taken time off work to care for Portia.

Portia has radiation treatment every day until Christmas Eve and then starts chemotherapy after Christmas.

Matthew Swan said the family had been overwhelmed by the level of support for their youngest daughter.

“This long lunch offered by Michael at Baduzzi is just amazing,” he said.

“He [Michael] just called and said ‘Matt I heard what is happening with Portia and what can I do to help?’.”

Matthew and Penny said the support and messages from members of the public they had never met had “kept our cups full”.

“The support we have had from people has been emotionally overwhelming. There are so many good people out there, not just donating but messaging us and calling to see how we are doing,” Matt said.

“We’ve had people drop meals off and that has been so helpful at the end of a day of treatment.

“We can’t say enough how much we appreciate everyone’s kindness.”

To bid on the Baduzzi Long Lunch click here.

A Givealittle page had been supported well by Herald readers and had raised more than $130,000.



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