Ashington’s original pizzeria raises cash to help McMillan Cancer Support
Sorrento’s owner honours parents with special fund-raising Abby Montana pizza
A Northumberland pizzeria owner is celebrating the lives of his parents who died from cancer by naming a fund raising pizza after them, and donating proceeds to charities supporting people in the local neighbourhood.
Maz Mohammadi is giving money from every Abby Montana pizza, (Sorrento special) sold by his business Sorrento’s in Ashington to good causes nominated by his customers. Maz’s father Abby cared for his mother Montana in their native Iran while she battle cancer before developing the disease himself. Sadly, they both passed away.
Iran does not have any publically funded healthcare like the NHS and Maz sent his after tax earnings back to Iran to pay for their treatment.
He said: “When I took over Sorrento’s, I sent every hard earning penny I could back to Iran to pay for my mum’s treatment. My dad cared for her while she was sick, then he became ill with cancer too.
“Iran doesn’t have an NHS or services like MacMillan – if it did, I wouldn’t have had to worry so much about the care my parents were getting.
“Now I want to say thank you to the people of Ashington who supported my business when I needed them and allowed me to support my parents’ care.
”I have asked my customers to select a charity for the past three months and McMillan Cancer Support was selected and they will receive the profits from sales of that particular pizza.”
Maz has renamed the Sorrento special – the pizzeria’s most popular dish after his mum and dad and is aiming to sell as many as possible in support of the McMillan charity.
He originally came to the UK to study music and while working in a part-time kitchen job to help fund his studies, he realised his future lay in catering. He promised his mother that one day he would have chains of pizza shops named after her and his father, and the Abby Montana pizza is the first step in that journey.
Maz said: “It has been a very difficult time. I told my family that my parents were improving because I didn’t want to worry them. Fortunately, I was able to get back to Iran to say goodbye to them for the last time and see them before they passed away.
“I really look up to my father as a hero for looking after my mother while battling cancer himself, and looking after my brother who suffers from epilepsy. By naming a pizza after my parents – and in the future, giving their names to a chain of shops – I want to remember them, and help other people who are suffering from terrible diseases, poverty or other life changing conditions at the same time.”
Sorrento’s was the first pizza takeaway to open in Ashington more than 30 years ago and Maz has been running the business for six years. The shop employs 10 local staff and has just been refurbished, with digital screens and new southern fried chicken facilities being added for customers.