Friday 15 February 2019

'She was a very incredible person - full of love and kindness and beauty' - Dad starts business to continue late wife's legacy

Stephen and his late wife Sandra
Stephen and his late wife Sandra
Sandra, Stephen and Joshua
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

“She was a very incredible person. She really was - full of love and kindness and beauty.”

Dublin man Stephen Grant (50) lost his wife Sandra to cervical and lung cancer three years ago. She had undergone 18 months of treatment but the cancer had become secondary and doctors eventually advised them that the treatment hadn't been successful.

Stephen, a former TV3 executive, and his son Joshua were left devastated when Sandra died on November 4, 2015.

“She was devoted to Joshua, she was a fantastic mother, it was very, very heart wrenching for the three of us, for Sandra not to get to see him growing up, for me to lose my wife and for Joshua not to have his mother here.”

“She had a very difficult time of it," Stephen tells Independent.ie. "She had very intense treatment but she just couldn’t get in front of it at all. She went through with it with such a brave face. The cancer got to her lungs.”

Life without Sandra has been difficult, and Joshua and Stephen have had to adjust to a new chapter in their lives. During Sandra's illness, Stephen had been on a leave of absence from TV3. After her death he knew he had to return to work full-time, but he wanted to find work that would allow him to be there for Joshua too.

Stephen explains: “My focus is around trying to work when he’s in school, so 35 weeks of the year during school hours. He’s in St Mary’s in Rathmines and they’re very, very good, they have homework clubs and extracurricular sport, and I can get the work I need to done within his school day.”

“It’s a challenge being a single parent like that. But he’s a great kid. It’s not easy, but it’s all manageable. We’ve just gotten a dog, which is like having a baby, that’s another challenge.”

Stephen landed on an idea for a business that would allow him to work during the hours that Joshua was in school or at extra curricular activities.

“After such a whirlwind of 18 months, to end the way it did, I wanted to get some time with my son. I decided my son has only one parent and I want to make sure he can see his parent, and I started thinking, what will I do? How will I manage it?”

He founded DiscoverBrew, or discoverbrew.com, a beer subscription service which delivers six handpicked beers every month from international breweries to subscribers

It curates a selection of beers based on their character, taste and personality and delivers the six-pack in a BrewBox.

Stephen got the idea from the female-led beauty subscription services like GlossyBox and BirchBox.  He partnered with his old school friend Paul Kelly, who owns an off-licence business in Ireland, for his knowledge of beer.

Stephen is currently developing his business model in the UK, and hopes once words of mouth spreads, the idea will take off.

“We feel that it’ll snowball; our ambition is to grow it right throughout the UK, where we have a significant number of tens of thousands of subscriptions and then we’ll look at Ireland.”

“I talk about ‘me 2.0’, and the business is a part of that, and it’s part of my new life going forward. I’m very excited about it and very excited that it’s a great product, and it’s a great gift for people going into Christmas. Anyone who has a husband who’s impossible to buy for, he’s a gift for the man in your life.”

“That’s one aspect of my life going forward.”

Stephen and Joshua have taken in a puppy who is a guide dog-in-training into their home, and their doing their best to make Sandra proud.

“We’re trying to move forward. What we try and do is think what [Joshua’s mum] would want, and she’d want the two of us to be happy.”

“Joshua is a really fantastic person, and I think in a lot of ways, that’s his mum’s legacy. Her legacy lives certainly within Josh, he’s a talented, well-adjusted kid and it’s my job to keep him that way.”

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