Stuart Allen, executive chef for Pursuit Group Banff Jasper Collection, in Jasper, is affectionately known as Stu and has been called optimistic and irreverent.
Allen is using those strengths as he faces a diagnosis he got in early August of glioblastoma multiforme - an aggressive form of brain cancer.
A treatment team at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton said the tumour is inoperable and gave him an 18-month prognosis.
But Allen is setting out on the hardest journey of his life with an army of loved ones at his side.
And he intends to spend every moment he can with his beloved wife, Julie.
When he talked about beating the odds, Allen said, “Miracles happen. I met her.”
He will have radiation treatments in Edmonton, over several weeks. They start on September 8.
There's been an outpouring of support from Allen's family and friends.
One of his good buddies, Stewart Nunn, lives in Arizona. He and Allen have been close since they were young lads. They shared many adventures, and were each other's best man at their respective weddings. Nunn said his wife Andrea and Allen's step-daughters, Madeline and Stephanie, independently thought on the same day that creating a GoFundMe account would be the answer to their collective question, 'What can we do for Stu?'
Nunn said he checked with his and Allen's good friend, Jason Peeples, about the idea and got a thumbs up.
He talked with Allen, who told him, “I don't object. This is a different situation and I welcome my friends' help.”
“When I saw donations coming in, tears were rolling down my face,” Nunn said, his voice cracking. “I'm blown away by how generous people are. It's been unbelievable.”
As of Aug. 31, $21,246 had been raised.
The money will be used to help Allen and Julie with costs of transportation to Edmonton, as well as the cost of maintaining two households and time away from work.
A chef since he was in his early 20s, Allen worked his cooking magic at Nunn's pre-wedding party.
“Stu cooked steak that people still talk about today - that was 27 years ago,” Nunn said.
He and Allen talk a couple of times a week, and send text messages to each other too.
“He's a soul that shines into you when you meet him,” Nunn said.
“He does this in such a generous way. He's a really good example of what a genuine person is like, and how it can be reflected back at him. Genuineness and kindness.”
The GoFundMe account, Nunn said, “is a tool to allow people to express some action” to help Allen.