Written by Nicki Igoe (2003) — Max’s mom and “Auntie Beth’s” best friend:
Beth and I met 18 years ago. We worked together at Nordstrom. I never thought, at that time, this beautiful young woman and I would become so close. I feel so fortunate to have called Beth my best friend. In fact, when we spoke, we often just called each other “friend” instead of using our names.
I have so many wonderful memories of Elizabeth. We shared so many special times.
Beth could walk in to a room of people not knowing anyone and leave knowing everyone. I was in awe of that. She was just so warm and friendly.
Beth had such a captivating smile. She made everyone feel comfortable.
When Beth and I would go out in our younger days, we’d always stop by Jack in the Box and order 2 tacos, one with no cheese for Beth, and 2 waters. That was our m.o. each and every time we went out.
Another amazing thing about Beth was her strength. Her strength to live, her strength to love, her strength not to let this nasty disease keep her down. Beth was released from the hospital not too long before she passed to go to her younger son Ben’s birthday party at Soak City. She was going!!! There was no stopping her!!! In fact when she got home that night, she really needed to get back to the hospital, but Henley, their family dog, was missing. Beth, in her stubbornness, was not leaving until they found that dog. Well, the dog stayed missing until the next day, but Beth finally agreed to go back to the hospital. The nurses were so angry that Beth didn’t come by ambulance. But Beth never wanted to go by ambulance. She would have driven herself if she could have.
Beth always wanted to be my friend, too. When she first got sick, I tried to protect her from everything. I didn’t share everything with her if I thought it would make her sad. Well, she set me straight immediately. I was to let her be my friend, too. And I did.
And what a friend. This story shows what a true friend she was: One time, Beth was in the hospital for quite a while. I wasn’t feeling well myself, so I didn’t go see her — not wanting her to catch what I had and complicate her situation. Finally, at the end of her hospital stay, I went. I sat far away and wore a mask. The next day, I landed myself in bed for 4 days. So Beth gets out of the hospital. And what does she do? Brings me chicken soup! Now when she walked in and saw me, her first comment was “nice hair.” Okay, not very nice, but… Anyway, she stayed and ate with me. I tried to get her to go, again not wanting her to get sick, but she refused. That’s Beth! So sweet, so stubborn!
Beth was always loving on Max. She was always buying him gifts, always thinking of him. She truly thought of Max as her family, and he always called her Auntie Beth. He loved her so. Beth crocheted Max a beautiful blanket when he was born. I will always cherish that, and Max will always have that blanket as a memory of her.
Some things that Beth loved were sushi, coconut drinks and pies, butterflies, swimming, doing her stained glass, preserving her photographic memories and her brother Mark’s stupid jokes. I remember Mark’s calling just to tell her a joke. She would laugh and laugh. They weren’t that funny, really, but to her they were wonderful. We’ll never know if she laughed to make him feel good or if she really liked them.
Beth made for me a beautiful stained glass piece. She didn’t want to give it to me because there was a small, and I mean small, crack in it. If you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t even notice it. I convinced her to give it to me but only after I agreed to give it back when she did a new one. She never did the new one, but I only wanted the one I have now.
Celine Dion had the honor and pleasure of meeting Beth and her family. She was invited by the Dream Foundation to be at one of her concerts and meet with her, personally. She told Celine how she loved to sing but when she was in school and tried out for choir that they suggested she try instruments instead. That never swayed her. She kept singing.
Beth was such a light in everyone’s life she touched.
Her two boys got so much from their mom. Joshua got Beth’s sensitivity, her passion. Benjamin got her beautiful freckles, her creativity. The night Beth passed, I was just holding Ben while he was sleeping. I was just staring at him. I saw so much of his mom in him. Both Josh & Ben will always have those traits and many more by which to remember their mom.
I can honestly say Beth is my hero! Not because she had cancer, not because she fought a valiant fight and not because she passed. None of those things make you a hero. What makes Beth my hero is what she did in spite of her cancer. She was heavily involved with the City of Hope. Beth hosted a blood drive at her boys’ school. She consistently brought in 80 – 100 people each year to donate blood. This, regardless of how she felt. That was her focus. Get that blood. What a great partnership — Beth & City of Hope.
Beth truly loved. She loved her family, especially her children, my family, her friends and God. I was always comforted by how comforted she became in her faith. I always found it amazing. Here I was questioning why, and she was telling me not to ask why. There were no answers. I tried, but boy is that hard. I now celebrate her life. And Max does, too. Hence, Max’s Lemonade Stand. He honors Beth!!!!
In conclusion, I want you to know how much I loved my friend. She has taught me so much, given me so much, shared with me so much, and I will be forever grateful for every year I had with her. All 18 years of our friendship. Each and every day. Thank you Beth for being my best friend. I love you. And thank you Max for being an awesome son and honoring your Auntie Beth. I love you MOST.
We are pleased to announce Max’s Lemonade Stand has formed a non-profit corporation. We have received our tax -exempt status with the IRS. Our Tax ID# is 20-8865035. It is our wish that by forming a non-profit corporation, and along with your help, we will be able to give more back to women, men and their families who suffer from this disease. Our desire is not only to raise money for breast cancer research but also to provide wigs to those who cannot afford them and to offer scholarships for children who have lost a parent to breast cancer. With your support, I am confident we will have another successful lemonade stand this year. You and your family can help me to continue to make a difference by making a donation.