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Barbara Murphy

Why I Give to GRACE


After she developed lung cancer in 2007, my wife Barb would log onto GRACE – the marvelous resource founded by Dr. Howard Jack West – for information that would allow her to play a proactive role in fighting her disease.

“I wish I could do something to help  Dr. West expand his great work,” Barb would say time and again during the years she battled lung cancer before passing away in December, 2013.

Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy

Now she’s getting her wish: Barb’s family and friends have created the Barb’s Beer Foundation and a light-bodied Northwest amber called “Barb’s Beer.” The foundation is signing up restaurants and taverns to put the beer on their taps to generate funds to support Dr. West and GRACE, as Barb would wish. We are lucky to have a friend, a talented brewmaster, Chuck Hohing, who created the recipe for us, based on input as to the kind of beer Barb – a marathon runner and beer lover – would like.

Northsound Brewery in Mt. Vernon produced the first batch commercially and we introduced Barb’s Beer in Bellingham, Washington this past July at LaFiamma Wood Fire Pizza. LaFiamma was Barb’s favorite restaurant where she and I would go every Friday for beer, pizza and “great conversation,” as Barb described – catching up on the week’s events in each of our lives.

To no one’s surprise Barb’s Beer is great-tasting and became the best selling beer at LaFiamma over the summer, raising $3125 for GRACE from July through September. Now five restaurants in Bellingham have signed on to serve the beer and we’re getting ready to expand to Seattle in early 2015 and then beyond as we strive to create an “engine” that can generate funds for GRACE over the long-term.

Presenting the first Barb's Beer Foundation check to Dr. West

Presenting the first Barb’s Beer Foundation check to Dr. West

Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie Westlake, one of Seattle’s leading pizza restaurants, will kick off the expansion to Seattle on February 11 – from there the plan is to expand to restaurants throughout Seattle as a platform for national expansion, including in New York City and Boston where we already have interest.

Why all this effort? First because it fulfills Barb’s desire to support Dr. West who was so kind and caring to her during the six years of her illness, as he is to all his patients. But also because GRACE is an ingenious concept that uses digital means to provide leading physicians and researchers around the world with an opportunity to share their findings on promising trials at the speed of light. That speed empowers patients to take the time to learn more about their disease, and that in turn makes them proactive agents with their physicians in treating their cancers.

That’s something worth contributing to, and in the case of Barb’s Beer that’s worth raising a toast to – the idea that one day with everyone working hard in their own way to channel support to GRACE, Dr. West and his colleagues may well produce a cure that could save someone’s life – so that another family doesn’t have to lose the person dear to them.

Please consider making a donation to GRACE today.

Donate buttonTom Murphy (“usanice1″) is Director of Human Resiliency at Fordham University and the husband of Barbara Murphy.

Learn more about Barb’s Beer at



Join GRACE at the Barb’s Beer Salute to Jack West Oct. 2


Barbara Murphy with beer

Barbara Murphy was a great runner, wife, mother and friend. She passed away last December from lung cancer that was initially diagnosed in 2007.

This past July, her family launched the Barb’s Beer Foundation. Working with brewmaster Chuck Hohing and the Northsound Brewery in Mt. Vernon, Washington, they developed a recipe for Barb’s Beer and began selling it at a single restaurant in Bellingham called La Fiamma. Proceeds from every sale benefit the Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education (GRACE).

On Thursday, October 2nd, the Foundation will present GRACE Founder and Board Chair Dr. Jack West with the first money raised since that launch. They will also announce their plans for the expansion of beer sales to other venues in the Seattle area.

Barbs Beer logo

The Foundation and GRACE invite you to join the celebration as the Barb’s Beer Foundation salutes Dr. West and the work of GRACE (and also enjoy some great brew)!

When: Thursday, October 2, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where: La Fiamma, 200 E Chestnut St, Bellingham, WA 98225

Our thanks to Barbara’s family and the Barb’s Beer Foundation for their support of GRACE. If you live in the Seattle area, please support La Fiamma and other restaurants that will soon start selling Barb’s Beer.

Like Barb’s Beer on Facebook!

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