Midtown Community Supports Bartender Diagnosed with Brain Tumor

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If you've seen his smile once, you'll always remember it.

Thirty-three-year-old Joe Stanley has been a bartender at Uncle Vito's in Midtown for four years. But recently, even regulars don't recognize him.

"The biggest thing about Joe is, he is always smiling. He just makes you feel welcome the moment you walk in the door. He remembers names. He remembers drink orders," Uncle Vito's Director Dana Scarpula said.

"I remember coming in one time and I recognized him but he remembered my name and I didn't remember his. I thought that was pretty unusual since he comes into contact with so many people," customer Harry Eakles said.

Joe Stanley is a staple at Vito's, but he hasn't been able to work for several weeks. Last Wednesday, he admitted himself into Mercy General Hospital with mysterious symptoms.

Stanley couldn't eat food or drink water. He lost 30 pounds. One side of his body went numb. When his lungs filled up with fluid and became infected, doctors told him they thought he had Gastro Asophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD.

"As a precautionary measure the doctor recommended an MRI, they checked my spine, my legs, everything. Then they finally found the tumor in my, in my brain," Joe Stanley said.

Stanley spoke with FOX40 outside of Mercy General Thursday afternoon. It was the first time he had been out of the Intensive Care Unit in 8 days. He was using a feeding tube to get nutrition and relying on his friends and family for support.

Doctor's told Stanley the tumor on his brain stem is inoperable. His only hope, that steroids and radiation will shrink the tumor.

"I can't control how fast it happens, I can't control what, you know….let's focus on what I can control now and then go from there," Stanley said.

In the mean time, Joe's friends have posted flyers with his picture all over town, trying to raise money for his mounting medical bills on a Go Fund Me account. As a bartender, he does not have health insurance.

"I have to stay positive. I have to. It's the only way through this," Stanley said.

"I talked to Joe at one point and he's like I don't even feel like I deserve this, and I just said man, people love you. And they want to make sure you know that, make sure you're supported during this time," Joe's good friend Jeff Lund said.

"It's definitely a hard road ahead for him. You know? What can you say, you know? I hope him well and hopefully I'll see him soon. I'm looking forward to it," Eakles said.

Several bars and restaurants around Midtown donated tips and sold bracelets to raise money for Stanley on Thursday night, including Tres Hermanas, Low Brau and Lime Light.

Vito's plans to have a fundraiser for Joe in November.

If you'd like to donate to Joe Stanley's medical expenses, go to:


If you'd like to send Joe a message on Facebook, search for the Facebook group "Free Joe Stanley" or follow this link:


Joe Stanley would like to thank everyone for their love and support. He says he can't wait to get back to work.

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