There are universal truths in this world: middle schoolers are awful, taxes are unavoidable, and cancer fucking sucks. It’s even worse when you’re in an environment where bodily abuse is a normal part of the culture. That’s why chef Eric Rogers contacted me to help find some assistance for one of his line cooks, Alex Pennington.
Pennington had been sous chef at McCormick and Schmick’s, the Hilton’s in-house restaurant downtown. About 2 months ago, Pennington moved over to work with Rogers at Prime 47, and Rogers was happy to have such a hard worker on his crew.
But Pennington was struggling. He didn’t have the energy he used to. He would step off the line to cough in the alley. Sometimes he’d cough up blood. Yet, even though he knew something was wrong, Pennington stayed through every shift, every dish, every night.
“He didn’t say shit. He looked like he was dying during every shift, but he still pumped out 500 covers and took breaks during rushes. Total hard ass,” said Chef Rogers.
It wasn’t until two days ago that Pennington had a solid answer to why he was so sick: he has five cancerous masses in his body. Doctors started him on chemotherapy treatments the next day.
Rogers wasn’t going to let someone who had come through for him so much go through the journey alone, so he set up a fundraising page to help ease the enormous cost of chemo treatments, which come out at about $20,000 per month for Pennington. And in the world of hospitality work, where insurance is an unusual thing, every dollar donated goes a long way to helping Pennington. If you want to donate to the cause, go to gofundme.com/alexPmedbills and help out this hardworking line cook.