The Big Apple NETs Support Group is sad to report that we lost one of our founding members in late October this year. Beth Ripston, a warm, funny, intelligent and generous lady, died on October 28, 2018, after living with neuroendocrine cancer since 2010. As someone who faced metastatic disease from the time of her diagnosis, Beth dealt valiantly with the challenges that brings. Years of Sandostatin treatment followed, as well as a debulking surgery in 2013 to reduce her tumor load, numerous treatments to stop the progression of metastases, and participation in a clinical trial of PRRT at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Like so many other metastatic NETs patients, she and her doctors successfully pushed back on the growth of her tumors – each treatment working for a time – until they just didn’t any more.
Beth accepted palliative care and hospice with the same courage and resolve that characterized how she dealt with this disease for the last eight years of her life. In the way she died, facing death head on, Beth showed us how to live: grab every minute of joy in life, show your love for your family and friends, and don’t give up until you’re out of options. In the last few months of her life, Beth spent time chatting with a friend and taking in the beauty of Riverside Park, and also enjoyed a trip to City Island for a leisurely, sunny lunch by the water. And less than two weeks before she died, Beth attended a support group meeting with all of us.
While Beth was a friend to many in the NETs community, she was a special friend to those of us in the Big Apple NETs Support Group. We will remember Beth for her laugh, her wicked sense of humor, and, most especially, for how much she shared her knowledge, often on behalf of newly diagnosed patients who were scared and overwhelmed. Beth was a veritable encyclopedia of information about NETs, and it was amazing to listen to her talk about meds, doctors, and treatments, as she helped a new patient figure out “what do I do now.”
As part of her determination to live life fully, Beth used her skills from a successful 33-year career in financial services to support the work of the NET Tumor Research Foundation by serving on its Audit and Investment Committee for several years. For those wishing to honor Beth’s life, memorial donations may be made to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation, 321 Columbus Ave., Suite 5R, Boston, MA 02116, or visit www.netrf.org.
We will miss you, Beth.
— Deborah Dinkelacker and Emily Zuckerberg