Tom Murphy of Bellingham hasn’t run a marathon in 15 years, but that’s not slowing him down from attempting the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18.
Murphy, 66, is running to raise awareness for Barb’s Beer, an American pale ale that Boundary Bay Brewery originally produced as a vehicle to support a cure for lung cancer in Murphy’s wife’s name. Barb Murphy died in December 2013 at the age of 61 from non-smoker’s lung cancer after a six-year battle.
Since then, a dozen breweries in Bellingham and Seattle have started selling Barb’s Beer with the profits going to GRACE, a charity established by Barb’s oncologist, Dr. Howard West, a physician at Swedish Hospital in Seattle and one of the country’s leading experts on lung cancer.
Now, Barb’s Beer has partnered with Trappist Monks, owners of Spencer Brewery in Spencer, Mass., to bring the beer to the East Coast. From there, Spencer Brewery can distribute the beer to cities throughout Massachusetts. Tom said his goal is to have Barb’s Beer in breweries across the country eventually.
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“I want to call attention to our successful base in the Northwest,” Murphy said. “We’re helping to find the cure by looking for ways to support Dr. West.”
Twenty percent of the people who die from lung cancer in the United States every year don’t smoke or use any other form of tobacco ranking it among the top 10 fatal cancers in the nation. Exposure to asbestos and radon are known risks for lung cancer as well as genetics, according to a WebMD article.
Murphy said he wants to connect Barb’s Beer to the running community in Boston where he and Barb have ties. Muprhy, who is originally from New York, met Barb in her hometown of Boston in the ’80s while they were both public school teachers. The two ran roughly a dozen marathons together in the ’80s and ’90s including, the New York Marathon eight times.
The logo for Barb’s Beer is of Barb crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon on her 50th birthday in 2000.
While some runners will be worried about their finish time on Monday, Murphy said he is more concerned with spreading his wife’s message of serving others. He only runs occasional 10-kilometer races now.
“I’m going to be thinking about getting across the line before the trollies start running again,” Murphy said.
Murphy will be staying on the East Coast through April and part of May to run training workshops that help veterans get jobs. He is the director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University and president of the Edge4Vets Program.
“Since 2011, I’ve trained vets in New York, Boston and Florida to translate their military skills into getting jobs,” Murphy said.
Eighty percent of the vets he’s trained have received jobs, according to Murphy.
Murphy said Barb’s philosophy was all about action during her six-year fight with lung cancer.
“Her focus was on others and never on herself while she was sick,” Murphy said. “Barb’s Beer is my effort to continue her action mantle and to support Dr. West.”
Whatcom County runners in Boston Marathon
Time: 5:30 a.m. Monday, April 18
SOURCE: Boston Athletic Association