Gone Too Soon, But Her Legacy Lives On

Video posted December 8, 2015 in News by Hannah Brown


Husband, father, and friend to many, Eric Shipon’s life was about to be turned upside down. Barb Shipon, wife, mother, and his gorgeous beam of sunshine was about to be taken away from him and his family far too soon.

Barb was diagnosed with what began as Stage 1 breast cancer. She originally beat her battle in 2004 after vigorous chemotherapy, radiation, and five years of Tamoxifen, which is a medication to treat breast cancer. Fast forward eight years later, and the bright, beautiful strong woman was rushed to the emergency room and was told that her cancer had come back. The family was told that Barb had 3-4 weeks to live, unless the doctors tried an experimental drug that could have either killed her in 24-48 hours, or it could have been a miracle drug. After everyone rallied, panicked, and prayed, their mother, wife, and friend had become a miracle patient. Barb would not let this cancer take over. She had a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters she did not want to leave.

“For those who didn’t know her, Barb was probably the happiest person people ever met. She made everyone she came into contact with feel special.  She was a survivor,” says her husband Eric, “we thought we won.”

Months later and throughout that summer Barb was doing great, and then, all of a sudden, “Just when you think you have it under control there are no rules, and if there’s a closing, it finds an opening and goes somewhere else,” pains Eric.

The breast cancer had spread to her liver, spine and brain. She had ports placed in her chest and head, and unfortunately had passed away a few months later.

Barb Shipon had a huge smile, a sing-song voice, and was more than just a friend to many. Eric and his girls knew they had to do something to keep her name alive. So they created a charity foundation called “Have a Catch for Barb.”
The Shipon family participates in Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure with a large friend and family team every year on Mother’s Day, and they also help other families who struggled like they once did.

“The dream for the charity has always been to choose a certain day at a certain time where the whole country is invited to go out and have a catch for ten minutes. The only guarantee is that people are going to feel better as a result. That’s the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is that the Jones family in Chicago, the Smith’s in Tennessee, are going to be raising money for another family who are in need. I love the idea of athletes from teams getting involved and having a catch with somebody that kids look up to,” Eric says.

Recently, the Shipons bought and delivered Thanksgiving meals for struggling families with sick family members. They also donate checks to people who are going through what they went through, and donate to charities that were close to her heart. A bed was donated to an Alzheimer’s Rehabilitation center in Barb’s name. The family always ensures that whatever money comes in through the charity goes right back out to do good for others. 

The Shipon family is always looking for ideas and events to raise money with the simple idea of the give and take of having a catch. They post their upcoming events on www.haveacatchforbarb.org, where you can also make donations to the charity.

About the Contributors

Hannah Brown's photo

Hannah Brown

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Hannah is an enthuasitic broadcast journalism major at Penn State University. She will attend the Penn State Hollywood Program as part of the first class ever this Spring.  She plans to graduate in December 2016 with a Baccalaureate degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish.
She has gained valuable experience though her internships at WETM 18 News, the NBC affiliate in Elmira, New York and with ESPN Radio 1450 in State College, Pennsylvania. She shadowed reporters and anchors at WETM-TV, who gave her many opportunities to grab the mic herself and practice. She even stepped up on the Fourth of July holiday when all of the other reporters in the office took the day off, and created and aired her own package which aired in the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. shows. She learned how to use and input information into ENPS and how to write, edit, record, and produce VO, VOSOTs, Natpacks, Packages, and more. This valuable experience helped guide her to decide that she loves news/entertainment and wants to focus on feature stories and segments. In addition to her television experience, she worked closely with Steve Jones and Brian Tripp and had her own “Tweet of the Week” segment on their show from 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays. She gained experience here by obtaining direct on-air experience from skilled professionals. She has also been writing for The Odyssey online newspaper for Penn State since freshman year, where she contributes weekly entertainment articles.
Upon graduating Hannah would love to work in the entertainment realm of broadcast journalism. Whether that be a morning anchor for the news, or an entertainment reporter, Hannah is up for anything that will allow her to share and build her passion for storytelling.