Disease claims young bartender - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Disease claims young bartender

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Posted: Saturday, April 22, 2006 6:21 am | Updated: 3:45 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A bartender at a popular Scottsdale bar died last week from rare complications of bacterial meningitis, just 36 hours after developing symptoms.

Scottsdale resident Matthew Bevil, 24, was a wellknown bartender at Axis/ Radius in downtown Scottsdale and an Arizona State University journalism major. He died April 14 from the disease, an infection of the fluid in the spinal cord.

It is spread through contact with saliva or respiratory secretions, usually by coughing, sneezing or sharing cups. But it is not highly contagious, and neither Bevil’s co-workers nor the public are at risk, said Karen Lewis, medical director at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Only about 3 percent of the people who contract bacterial meningitis develop severe, lifethreatening infections, she said. “We don’t fully understand why some come down with bacterial meningitis and others don’t,” she said.

On April 11, Bevil started complaining of headaches and vomiting. When his symptoms worsened the next day he was taken to urgent care and then to the emergency room at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa. He died with family and friends by his side.

“He wasn’t just my son, he was my friend,” said his mom, Connie Bevil of Tempe.

Bevil was born in Clarksville, Ark., but grew up in Tempe. He attended McClintock High School.

“He was social, friendly, loving, kind and compassionate,” said his sister, Rebecca Gibbons. “He lived life the way the rest of us should be living life.”

As a bartender, Bevil had no health insurance. To raise funds for his burial, his employers and co-workers are holding a fundraiser this weekend at Suede Restaurant and Lounge in Scottsdale. The owners will donate the cover charge and a percentage of the sales to his mother. Friends also set up an account at Wells Fargo under his mother’s name for donations.

“He would give you the shirt off his back,” said Matt Metzer, his friend and co-worker.

How to help

What: Fundraiser for Matthew Bevil’s family

Where: Suede Restaurant & Lounge, 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale

When: 9 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday

Cost: $5 donation

Information: (480) 970-6969

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