tampabay.com

She'll get by with a little help from friends

By JOHN WILSON
Published February 14, 2007


Sarah Murphy traveled Europe, stretching an overseas musical career all the way to Singapore. Then she returned to her roots here, found love, life and a ton of friends.

That's evident now as her pals rally around her as she battles cancer - for the second time.

The Suncoast Blues Society is putting on a March 3 benefit for Murphy, often known by her musical handle Sarah Sax.

And Saturday, blues singer Sarasota Slim will play a benefit at the Swigwam, a beach bar in St. Pete Beach.

"I just can't believe all the people who've stepped up to support me. That's the main thing, the emotional support is really fantastic," said Murphy, 46.

Maximo Presbyterian Church also has been a big source of support, she said.

The Lakewood High graduate successfully fought breast cancer in 2002. She remained in remission until a few weeks ago, when she learned that the cancer had metastasized.

"I pretty much felt fine until it hit me the day before Christmas," Murphy said.

Without medical insurance, she is undergoing chemotherapy weekly. The benefits will help with expenses. At the benefit at Gulfport on the Rocks, food will be served for a small donation, with proceeds going to Murphy's recovery fund.

A raffle also will be held. Donations for it can be arranged by calling 727 577-9554 or by e-mailing pinkfiddle@tampabay.rr.com.

A medical assistance fund has been set up at Wachovia Bank in St. Petersburg under the name StarTrail.

Murphy most recently has played saxophone with the Tampa Bay Women's Blues Review. Among her mentors was the late Rock Bottom, the blues harp player.

Murphy went to Williams College in Massachusetts before spending a few years as a street musician in Europe.

After earning her degree in comparative religion, she went back on a more formal European circuit with Cole Oliver.

She decided to return to the St. Petersburg area, where she met Rolf Burer, now her husband. The couple live in Gulfport.

If you go

Musical medicine

Saturday: Blues singer Sarasota Slim will play a benefit at the Swigwam, a beach bar behind Shell's Seafood Restaurant at 6300 Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach.

March 3: Suncoast Blues Society will hold a benefit from 2 to 7 p.m. at Gulfport on the Rocks, 5413 Shore Blvd., Gulfport.