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Seattle's music scene rallies around 'unsung hero' facing devastating disease

Susie Tennant, who worked for Nirvana and Sub Pop, has early-onset Alzheimer's. #k5evening

SEATTLE — She didn’t perform on-stage or record an album, but Susie Tennant helped make Seattle’s grunge-era music scene happen.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she worked for Sub Pop Records and became known as the person who would get things done with kindness and a smile.

"She was magnetic, she was a force of nature,” said Kim Warnick of the Fastbacks. “She'll do whatever she can for you."

In 1989, Tennant invited Warnick to move in with her and a roommate. Warnick said she had recently been in rehab and the two just met, so the offer was an example of Tennant’s endless faith in people.

Tennant's most storied job was working for Nirvana, helping get them wherever they needed to be and becoming good friends with the band members.

Warnick said no one was better at “herding cats” than Tennant.

"She has been there for so many people. Nirvana is the one we can talk about, that's the big one. But her passion for everybody was the same,” Warnick said.

Now, the Seattle music community is rallying to support Tennant, as she faces a devastating disease.

The wife and mother of two is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer's and dementia, which doctors believe may be caused by Frontotemporal Degeneration Disease or “FTP.” Her symptoms of memory loss and muscle degeneration align with FTP, a disease so rare there have only been about 60,000 confirmed cases in America.

A GoFundMe page was established to help raise money to support the family’s mounting medical expenses, and early donors include Nirvana’s Dave Grohl and Krist Novaselic, Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman, and Pete Nordstrom.

Warnick also hosts Zoom calls three times a week, reuniting friends from the rock/alternative scene who speak to and play for Tennant.

"She is an unsung hero,” Warnick said.

If you would like to help support Tennant’s family, the GoFundMe page is an ongoing fundraiser.

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