Ponzio’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Raises Record $130,000 for Lung Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper

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CAMDEN, NJ — George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of Cooper University Health Care, and Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, announced tonight that the Ponzio’s 50th Anniversary benefit dinner raised a record $130,000 to support the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.

“I am deeply appreciative of the contributions the Fifis family has made to Cooper and all of South Jersey over the past five decades,” said Norcross.  “Together, through research and education, we can continue to ensure that patients have access to the best in lung cancer care in the region at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.”

More than 300 people gathered at Ponzio’s Diner-Bakery-Bar in Cherry Hill for the 50th anniversary celebration and to remember Jim Fifis, the long-time owner of Ponzio’s before he died of lung cancer in 2007.

“Cooper and Ponzio’s both have longstanding legacies in South Jersey,” said Levin. “We are happy to join with the Fifis family in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ponzio’s and in honoring the memory of Jim Fifis by supporting research to advance lung cancer care and treatment.”

Prior to his passing, Fifis asked his wife, Violetta, and 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.

“Our dad dedicated his life to Ponzio’s, and tonight’s celebration shows that even though he is no longer with us, his legacy lives on,” said Nick Fifis. “He taught us about the importance of giving back to our community, and we are proud to honor him by partnering with The Cooper Foundation to raise money for lung cancer research.”

Now in its fourth year, the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper builds support to help ensure that patients have access to the best possible lung cancer care in South Jersey and the region.

“The Cooper Foundation and the Fifis family deserve tremendous credit for recognizing the important role of research in enhancing lung cancer care,” said Frank Bowen, M.D., Director of Thoracic Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. “We are grateful for their ongoing support and their commitment to fighting lung cancer and educating the community about the dangers of smoking.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer in the United States, causing about 90 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses.

Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn along with Cherry Hill Council President David Fleisher recognized the Fifis family and Ponzio’s with a proclamation honoring them for their efforts to fight lung cancer and for their contributions to the Cherry Hill community over the past five decades.

About MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper :
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is a fully integrated partnership between Cooper University Healthcare and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – a world-renowned cancer center which began in September 2013. MD Anderson at Cooper physicians adhere to the philosophy, process and guidelines set by MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, and patients receive the same proven practice standards and treatment protocols provided at MD Anderson. Disease-site specific multidisciplinary teams consisting of physicians, nurses and other clinical specialists work together to provide cancer patients with advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies, access to wide range of groundbreaking clinical trials and dynamic patient-physician relationships.  A full complement of support services provides complete, compassionate care for our patients. MD Anderson at Cooper is the only accredited American College of Surgeons Academic Cancer Program in South Jersey.  Cancer services are based in Camden at the new $100 million MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper located on the Health Sciences Campus as well as in Voorhees, New Jersey.

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