CAMDEN, NJ — Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, announced tonight that the Seventh Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner raised $110,000 for the lung cancer program at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
More than 300 people gathered at Ponzio’s Diner-Bakery-Bar in Cherry Hill for the dinner, which celebrated the life of Jim Fifis, who was the long-time owner of Ponzio’s before he died of lung cancer in 2007.
“Jim Fifis was near and dear to many of us,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation. “Ponzio’s has a long history of giving back to the community, and thanks to the Fifis family and our generous donors, we can keep Jim’s memory alive by coming together to support the lung cancer program at MD Anderson Cooper.”
In addition to the dinner, the event featured a silent auction, music and delicious Ponzio’s desserts, including the Cooper Cookie, a specially made cookie that features the Cooper seal. The cookie is sold at Ponzio’s and throughout Cooper University Health Care.
Since its founding in 2011, the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund has raised a total of $760,000. The Fund provides support to lung cancer clinical research programs, the high-risk lung cancer screening program and the utilization of several innovative diagnostic tools for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer, including endobronchial ultrasound, at MD Anderson Cooper.
“MD Anderson Cooper’s Lung Cancer Program combines compassionate medical care with innovative science and state-of-the-art technologies to provide the best possible outcomes for each patient,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of Cooper University Health Care. “Support from the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund is helping us make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”
Prior to his passing, Jim Fifis asked his three sons, Chris, Nick and John to advocate for a cure for lung cancer and to work to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.
“This benefit dinner is our way of honoring our dad and supporting research at MD Anderson Cooper so in the future, no other families have to lose their loved one to lung cancer,” said Nick Fifis. “We are grateful for the generous support of our family and friends who have joined with us in this fight. Our dad would be proud.”
Approximately 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women will get lung cancer in their lifetime, and according to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the single largest cancer killer in New Jersey. South Jersey residents have lung cancer rates that exceed the state average. While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, 10 percent to 15 percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked. Research, early detection and clinical trials are the most effective weapons to diagnose and treat lung cancer at its earliest stage where complete remission has the greatest opportunity.
The Fifis Family underwrites the cost of the dinner completely, so that all funds raised benefit lung cancer programs at MD Anderson Cooper.
“The money raised through this event has helped enhance our lung cancer program,” said Generosa Grana, M.D., Director of MD Anderson Cooper. “We are thankful to The Cooper Foundation and the Fifis family for all they have done to support our doctors, nurses, and medical staff who work so hard each and every day to fight this disease.”
The Seventh Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner was sponsored by Title Sponsor Spring Hill Senior Communities and Premier Sponsors Cherry Hill Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram; Vi Fifis, Donna and Rick Forman and the Forman Family; Holman Enterprises, Inc.; Ravitz Family Foundation; TD Bank, N.A., and The Women’s Board Committee of The Cooper Foundation.
View the event photos by clicking here.