We recently shared the sad news of the passing of our founder, Executive Director, and dear friend, Giovanna Joyce Imbesi. It had been a challenging year for Giovanna’s physical health and she moved to Marin County this fall with hopes of enjoying many months of music, nature, and friends. Sadly, her physical condition unexpectedly and rapidly declined. Giovanna passed away peacefully in her home in Marin surrounded by an intimate circle of loved ones including our very own Lisa Yen and NorCal Carcinet founder and president Josh Mailman along with Giovanna’s sister, Donna Gavin, and a handful of longtime friends. Giovanna also felt incredibly loved and supported by the countless family and friends who were present with her in spirit.
Although we miss her dearly, Giovanna expressed her desire that we focus on how she lived richly and fully for 14 years with neuroendocrine cancer. She felt that her greatest legacy was founding and building LACNETS, a non-profit dedicated to providing education, support, and advocacy for those whose lives have been touched by neuroendocrine cancer. Giovanna was especially proud of NET VITALS, a tool we created to improve communication between patients and physicians. Her hope was to help as many people as possible learn to thrive while living with neuroendocrine cancer.
Giovanna built more than just a community; she created a family. Her wish was for us to continue celebrating life and connectedness. We welcome you to lean on each other for support by joining us at one of our LACNETS meetings. Our upcoming December 10th meeting will feature a presentation by Chaplain Michael Eselun and will include a time for remembrance of Giovanna. For those unable to attend meetings in person, they are live-streamed on the LACNETS Facebook Page. Past meetings can be viewed on the LACNETS YouTube channel. There are tentative plans for a celebration of Giovanna’s life in the Bay area in January 2020 and Los Angeles in February 2020. More details will follow. You may also leave a tribute to Giovanna in the comments section below.
LACNETS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Tax ID #20-0062062. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
"Music Heals" featuring Giovanna’s story, was created in celebration of Carcinoid Cancer Foundation’s 50th anniversary. As a consummate jazz pianist, Giovanna drew from a deep connection to soul and spirit. Her music will continue to heal many.
"Give Me Peace," featuring Lettrice Lawrence, was composed and produced by Giovanna. This song honors those who have passed and celebrates those who are enjoying another year of life.
The Cedars-Sinai Patient Leadership Award was awarded to Giovanna at the 2019 Annual Los Angeles NET Patient Education Conference on June 8, 2019.
In the recent LACNETS blog article “Finding Joy: Making Friends with Change” Giovanna shared her personal journey of embracing change and finding joy.
Coping & Bereavement support and resources:
City of Hope’s grief and bereavement support: 626-218-2273
WeSpark cancer support center in Sherman Oaks lists many local cancer support, caregiver support, and grief support.
Cancer Support Community provides free individual counseling for those living with cancer. They also have support groups for bereavement and for caregivers.
During her last few weeks, Giovanna read this book and shared its contents with her friends and family, “Last Acts of Kindness: Lessons for the Living from the Bedsides of the Dying.” The author Judith Redwing Keyssar was a personal friend.