Seattle (October 22, 2012) – Following news that renowned Seattle bartender Murray Stenson is suffering from a heart ailment that prevents him from working and will result in staggering medical expenses, friends and admirers from around the world have rallied to provide financial support to Stenson, and to organize benefit efforts on his behalf.
“Murray Stenson is one of the world’s greatest bartenders, and he’s been so generous to his guests and his friends—now it’s time for us to give him some support ,” says Jamie Boudreau, Stenson’s current employer at Canon and a longtime friend. “This pulling together of the community makes me proud to be a bartender.”
Stenson is a 36-year veteran of Seattle’s bars, and has earned a global reputation for his impeccable skills as a host, and his talent at mixing excellent drinks. Since late 2011, Stenson has tended bar at Canon, a celebrated cocktail bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood; for much of the decade before that, he helmed the bar at Zig Zag Cafe, near Pike Place Market. Stenson helped build Zig Zag Cafe into one of the world’s most acclaimed cocktail bars, earning it a spot on Esquire magazine’s list of “Best Bars in America.” In 2010, Stenson was named “American Bartender of the Year” during the Spirit Awards atTales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
On October 20, news of Stenson’s ailing health was announced on Facebook and via email by his longtime friend, Evan Wallace, and by Boudreau. Stenson, 63, had recently been diagnosed with a heart ailment requiring intensive surgery and a lengthy period of recovery, and is unable to work due to his condition. Like many service-industry workers, Stenson lacks health insurance, and is facing medical and recovery costs in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Wallace, Boudreau and other friends of Stenson launched a support page on Facebook and a website, murrayaid.org, over the weekend of October 20-21, to gather online donations from Stenson’s friends and supporters, and to organize benefit events. (Stenson has asked Wallace to serve as trustee for the funds raised via the website and benefit efforts). In the first 36 hours following the announcement of Stenson’s ailment, more than $16,000 in donations were collected from nearly 200 donors, and benefit events were announced in cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Vancouver, Houston, New York, Boston, Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., and in Australia; more events in additional locations are expected to be scheduled soon.
Stenson will learn more about his condition and treatment options in the days to come. In the meantime, his bartender colleagues, friends and longtime guests continue to raise funds on his behalf, and to schedule benefit events to offset his medical expenses.
“Murray Stenson has been serving people for more than three decades from behind Seattle’s most esteemed bars,” says Evan Wallace. “These are ways we can help our friend, who has brought so much joy and laughter to so many people.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Details on donations and upcoming events are available at murrayaid.org, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MurrayAid.
Bartenders and bar owners interested in organizing a benefit event should contact Jamie Boudreau at email@example.com.
Inquiries regarding donations and the website should be directed to Evan Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.