Barb's Beer Foundation taps open lung cancer research


BELLINGHAM - Nearly 70 people will cap their Tuesday, July 1, run by tapping the first keg of a beer made to honor their friend and fellow runner who died in December from non-smoker's lung cancer.

At La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, they will raise a glass of Barb's Beer, a locally brewed lager specifically made in memory of Barbara Murphy's courage and action.

"She was courageous in battling it, but she was action-oriented in looking at how she can take her condition and use it as a platform to create more awareness," said her widower, Tom Murphy.

The beer is just part of a fundraising effort for Barb's Beer Foundation, created earlier this year by Tom with the support of friends and family. Its goal is to raise money for a cancer research charity, Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education.

For a $15 donation starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, people will get pizza and a taste of the original Barb's Beer. Tom chose La Fiamma as the starting point for Barb's Beer because he and Barbara would go there every Friday for "beer, pizza and great conversation."

Barbara, an avid marathon runner and lover of beer and good conversation, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 and fought valiantly against the disease for six years with the help of friends, family and Dr. Howard West, renowned oncologist from Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and president of GRACE.

After Tuesday night, La Fiamma will continue to exclusively sell Barb's Beer for the entire summer, with proceeds going to to fund West's efforts at GRACE to research lung cancer.

"If we can create a flow of funding into, we believe Dr. West can cure this thing," Tom said. "That's what Barbara would want."

After this summer, Tom hopes to take Barb's Beer nationwide. Eight restaurants and bars in Seattle as well as five restaurants and bars in Cape Cod, Mass., where the couple has ties, have already expressed interest in serving Barb's Beer.

Local brewmaster Chuck Hohing created the recipe for Barb's Beer with the input of Barb's friends and family. North Sound Brewing Company from Mount Vernon is brewing the beer for the foundation.

"This is just an extension of ... her life to do good for others," Tom Murphy said. "That's Barbara."

Reach Matthew Thompson at 360-715-2249 or

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