The healing power of coffee

Bravery Blends donates a portion of proceeds to PTSD organizations

Bravery Blends was started by Heather Heystek, and donates a portion of the proceeds to charities working to help first responders and those suffering from PTSD. Photo Submitted

Heather Heystek is helping those with PTSD get help through with Bravery Blends coffee.

As the wife of a first responder, and a former RCMP clerk, Heystek has had her fair share of experience with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“I’ve seen it first hand,” said Heystek, who is the daughter of the former Sylvan Lake News editor Steve Dills. “I could see the effects in friends and those I worked with. I felt like I needed to help raise awareness.”

She has spent the last four years working on this project. Part of the process was trying to find a product to sell to raise money for the cause.

Ultimately, she decided on coffee, saying it is something most people can relate to.

“I always think of coffee as something we do together,” said Haystack said. “The good times or the bad, it just seems to bring us together.”

READ MORE: Chaplain encouraged thoughts of peace, imagination

Currently Bravery Blends has only one blend of medium roast coffee. The coffee beans are roasted by Lethbridge roaster, Cupper’s Coffee and Tea.

The signature blend donates $1 of every bag bought to Wounded Warriors.

Wounded Warriors is a Canada-wide charity that helps first responders and wounded soldiers, along with their families, work through the trials of PTSD. The organization has been recognized on a national level for its efforts to bring help to first responders and military families.

They provide a variety of programs, and work with the client to find the right fit. These programs are provided across the country.

If a program is not able to be helpful in a specific location or province, Wounded Warriors works to ensure the client is still able to attend.

“Nobody gets left out [with Wounded Warriors]. That’s why I chose them, along with the great programs they offer for those with PTSD and their families,” said Heystek.

In memory of the Mayerthrope tragedy, which occurred on March 3, 2005, where four RCMP officer were killed in the line of duty, Bravery Blends will be offering a new coffee blend.

Night Shift, a dark roast coffee, is partnering with the Red Deer Legacy Place Society.

Legacy Place provides “empathetic support that builds resiliency individually and within first responder and military families.”

“[Legacy Place] really does the boots on the ground kind of work for our first responders in Alberta.”

The new coffee will launch on the anniversary of the tragedy, and will begin shipping on March 5 from Lethbridge, where Heystek currently resides.

It was the Mayerthrope tragedy that prompted her to do something to help.

Heystek and her husband were posted in Mayerthrope at the time of the incident. One of the officers, Peter Schiemann, was the best man at Heystek’s wedding.

She says while the tragedy prompted her to do something, Bravery Blends isn’t solely about what happened.

“It is why I do what I do, but it isn’t just that,” said Heystek. “I worked with the RCMP for 13 years and I saw a lot, along with my husband. This is something that affects everyone across Canada and beyond.”

Bravery Blends launched in August 2017, after crowdfunding more than $11,000 over one month.

The coffee can be bought in person at Lethbridge Tactical in Lethbridge or Colossi’s Coffee House in High River.

The coffee can also be purchased online at and can be shipped nationwide.

Since launching, Heystek has sold over 500 pounds of coffee to people across the country.

“This isn’t something I do full time, I work on it in the evenings and on the weekends,” Heystek said, calling it a social project.

“This is something that people across the country can relate to. First responders, families and friends, I think everyone knows someone who is affected.”

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