CAMDEN, N.J.— Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, announced tonight that the Sixth Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner raised $150,000 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.
“When you donate to the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund, you help the experts at MD Anderson Cooper defeat the leading killer of men and women nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Levin. “Jim Fifis always gave back to the community, and this fund is a fitting way to honor his legacy and make a difference in the lives of patients.”
In addition to the dinner, the event featured a silent auction, music and delicious Ponzio’s desserts, including the Cooper Cookie and Cooper Cupcake, specially made cookies and cupcakes that feature the Cooper seal.
Prior to his passing, 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.
“My dad would be tremendously grateful for the generosity and support of everyone who has joined with us in the fight against lung cancer,” said Nick Fifis. “We are proud to advance Cooper’s mission by ensuring that our family, friends, neighbors and patrons have access to the best possible lung cancer research and care right here in South Jersey.”
Since its founding in 2011, the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund has raised a total of $650,000 for lung cancer research at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
“The Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund helps support the top-notch lung cancer care we provide at MD Anderson Cooper,” said Generosa Grana, M.D., Director of MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. “From new advanced screening technology for early detection to minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment tools and access to clinical trials, we provide patients with comprehensive lung cancer care, right here locally.”
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 Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research 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.
“I am thankful to the Fifis family for always being generous supporters of Cooper and the South Jersey community,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of Cooper University Health Care. “Jim Fifis would be proud of his sons for their commitment to fighting lung cancer and helping other families beat the disease.”
The Sixth Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner was sponsored by Ponzio’s along with Title Sponsor Spring Hill Senior Communities and Premier Sponsors Cherry Hill Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram; Vi Fifis Forman Mills; Holman Automotive Group, Inc.; Investors, Inc. Ravitz Family Foundation; TD Bank, N.A., and The Women’s Board Committee of The Cooper Foundation.