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After receiving treatment at the NIH twice in her lifetime, Beth Cooper says that the National Institutes of Health campus feels like home to her. Beth currently serves as the Vice President of Friends of Patients at the NIH’s board, but her ties to the NIH stem back to when she was an NIH pediatric patient.

When she was 16, Beth noticed a lump in her neck. It turned out that Beth had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Beth soon began her treatment at the NIH, where she was involved in a trial that determined whether chemotherapy or radiation was the proper course of treatment for her stage of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After four cycles of chemo, Beth’s cancer had gone away.

However, after having her son in 1998, Beth could sense that something was wrong again. The lump in her neck had returned. Sometimes, pediatric cancer patients will have another cancer later in their lives due to their earlier treatment. Unfortunately, this was the case for Beth, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She went back to the NIH for a thyroidectomy and received radioactive iodine therapy, the treatment for thyroid cancer. While it was hard being away from her young son, Beth was glad to be getting the treatment she needed.

Beth is grateful for the NIH because its cutting-edge scientific research has saved her life twice. In fact, Beth was directly involved in a scientific breakthrough in her Hodgkin’s lymphoma trial. The trial determined that chemotherapy, not radiation, is the proper course of treatment for certain stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Beth wants donors to know that the impact of their contribution is so important.

Beth understands the importance of Friends at NIH and its mission because she knows firsthand how important it is for patients to have a personal support system. Beth was fortunate to have always lived near the NIH. As a child, her parents visited her every single day, and her mom also worked for the NIH. As an adult, her husband was able to come visit her.

“But when you’re from out of town, out of the country, the basic thing of having somebody visit you isn’t taken for granted because of the costs that are involved,” Beth says.

Beth wants donors to know that the impact of their contribution is so important because it helps not only patients who are currently at the NIH participating in research trials, but it also helps future patients.

“It’s a donation in which the impact will go on and on and on,” Beth says. “And maybe someday, it may even help those donating or their loved ones.”

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