Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, announced today that the 10th Annual Pink Roses Teal Magnolias Brunch raised a record-breaking $1 million for breast and gynecologic cancer research and clinical programs at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
The 10th annual fundraiser was held on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. More than 850 people were in attendance. Pink Roses Teal Magnolias is the largest breast and gynecologic cancer fundraiser in the Delaware Valley.
“Pink Roses Teal Magnolias is a healing movement fueled by the power of hope and the strength of sisterhood that supports fellow survivors and advocates for research and care for breast and gynecologic cancer,” said Susan Bass Levin, who is also an ovarian cancer survivor. “To raise $1 million is a testament to the passion of the Pink and Teal community and their dedication to finding a cure for women’s cancer once and for all.”
Since the first brunch in 2010, fundraising for Pink Roses Teal Magnolias has totaled $6.5 million. Funds have been used to support research, the Patient In Need Fund, new technology, the Survivorship Program, and the Dr. Diane Barton Complementary Medicine Program which utilizes therapies designed to lessen the pain, stress, and anxiety associated with cancer while supporting mainstream medical care.
“Since opening in 2013, MD Anderson at Cooper has become the leading cancer center in South Jersey, caring for more than 100,000 patients each year,” said George E. Norcross III, Chairman of Cooper University Health Care. “I am deeply grateful for the generosity of our individual donors, sponsors, and community partners and we look forward to another decade of providing hope and support in the fight against women’s cancer.”
“We have made tremendous strides in diagnosing and treating breast and gynecologic cancer, but we know there is still more work to be done,” said Generosa Grana, MD, Director of MD Anderson at Cooper. “Thanks to the backing of Pink Roses Teal Magnolias we are able to expand our research capabilities – resulting in more innovative treatments – and grow our programs that support survivors throughout their cancer journey.”
The event honored Danielle L. Behrens, DO, inpatient Hematologist/Medical Oncologist; Anthony E. Dragun, MD, Chief of the Department of Radiation Oncology; Lauren Krill, MD, Gynecologic Oncologist; Marjan L. Koch, MD, inpatient Hematologist/Medical Oncologist; and Bonnie Mehr, Director of Integrative Oncology Services and Director of the Dr. Diane Barton Complementary Medicine Program. (See their bios below.)
The event also featured inspiring stories from four cancer survivors – Barbara Abrams, Susan Jacobucci, Francheska Vargas, and Vicki Zell (bios below) and culminated with a Survivor’s March recognizing all cancer survivors in attendance.
The brunch was co-chaired by community members Donna Forman, Cherry Hill; Ilene Grossman, Voorhees; Janet Knowles, Moorestown; Josephine McGinniss, Mount Laurel, and Carolyn Shelby, Westampton, along with MD Anderson at Cooper leaders Generosa Grana, MD; Francis R. Spitz, MD; David P. Warshal, MD, and Robert A. Somer, MD.
Pink and Teal Featured Speaker Bios
- Barbara Abrams, Mount Laurel, NJ
Barbara Abrams has become a strong proponent of breast self-examination, after finding her lump in May 2018. As a new member of the sisterhood of breast cancer survivors, she has a new appreciation of the strength of women who are faced with the challenges of breast cancer. She is forever grateful to have had the immediate access to excellent medical care from the entire team at MD Anderson at Cooper. Now six months post treatment, she continues to remain active in her job as Director of the Special Needs Department at Jewish Family and Children’s Service, where she has loved working for the past 19 years. When not working, she enjoys creating mosaics, spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and kayaking in the Poconos, but most importantly appreciating the time she spends with her family and friends, as this will never be taken for granted.
- Susan Jacobucci, Galloway, NJ
Susan Jacobucci was informed of her endometrial cancer diagnosis on February 2, 2016. Her gynecologist, Dr. Michelle Iavicoli, immediately referred her to Dr. David Warshal and she was scheduled for surgery on February 24, 2016. In between the diagnosis and surgery, the universe challenged her with pulmonary embolisms. She thanks the team of Cooper physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and technicians for their critical thinking and expert care that saved her life. Susan has served in government and education for more than 30 years. She is currently the administrator in Paulsboro, Gloucester County, and sits on the state’s Police and Fire Retirement System Board. In 2018, she was presented with an Outstanding Women in Government Award. In her spare time, she tries to pay it forward to the best of her abilities.
- Francheska Vargas, Sewell, NJ
Francheska Vargas has been a full-time hairstylist for 35 years and making people feel beautiful has always been her passion. In August 2017, she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, but refused to let her diagnosis steal her beauty. Francheska is grateful to her amazing team of doctors and nurses. If Francheska looks familiar, she was featured in an MD Anderson at Cooper commercial last year. Francheska first attended a Pink and Teal brunch while she was undergoing treatment and was so moved by the experience that she is now a Host Committee Member – doing all she can to give back to the organization that helped save her life.
- Vicki Zell, Cherry Hill, NJ
Vicki Zell was diagnosed with breast cancer by her annual mammogram in March 2019. With a family history of cancer and at the guidance of her husband, Cooper Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Brian Zell, Vicki immediately took action. After genetic screening with Dr. Generosa Grana, she had surgery in April 2019, followed by radiation treatment with Dr. Anthony Dragun, and physical therapy with Melissa Szasz. Vicki is feeling great! She never missed a beat working as Executive Director of the Raymond & Gertrude R. Saltzman Foundation, serving on national boards and volunteering in the community, including as a first-time Pink and Teal Host Committee member. Being surrounded by the love of her husband, two daughters, a son and new daughter-in-law, and a soon-to-be son-in-law, as well as amazing forever friends, gives Vicki the boundless energy to face every challenge and to treasure every day.
Pink and Teal Hero Bios
(Brunch Honorees – Doctors and Staff at MD Anderson at Cooper)
- Danielle L. Behrens, DO
Inpatient Hematologist/Medical Oncologist
After her grandmother was diagnosed with glioblastoma, Danielle, at the age of 16, knew she wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Danielle witnessed a brave fight paired with compassionate health care providers and knew that this was what she wanted to do. Danielle Behrens, DO, received her Bachelors in Biological Sciences from Rowan University and then graduated from A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Cooper, where she served as chief resident, and her fellowship training at MD Anderson at Cooper. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Cooper University Medical School of Rowan University.
- Anthony E. Dragun, MD
Chief, Department of Radiation Oncology
Inspired by his mother, Anthony Dragun, MD, saw first-hand the challenges and rewards of building a career in medicine. Dr. Dragun completed his undergraduate degree in molecular biology at Colgate University and his medical degree at Hahnemann University School of Medicine. He completed his post-graduate board certification in radiation oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 2017, Dr. Dragun joined Cooper as the Chairman and Chief of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson at Cooper. An internationally-known expert in the field of breast cancer, Dr. Dragun has been instrumental in building the radiation oncology program. Dr. Dragun has the heart of a teacher and uses a combination of education, empathy, and humor to give patients a sense of optimistic power over their diagnosis.
- Marjan L. Koch, MD
Inpatient Hematologist/Medical Oncologist
With a background in science and surrounded by family members in health care and science careers, Marjan Koch, MD, decided to enter medical school while completing her master’s degree in biomedical sciences at Drexel University. A graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. Koch has been a hematologist/oncologist at MD Anderson at Cooper since 2010. Prior to becoming an attending physician, Dr. Koch completed both her residency in internal medicine and her fellowship in hematology/oncology at Cooper University Health Care. She fell in love with Cooper and its patients and truly believes in Cooper’s mission to serve, to heal, to educate.
- Lauren Krill, MD
As a medical student, Lauren Krill, MD, traveled to East Africa to conduct research and help women with HIV. Her first patient was a young woman with advanced cervical cancer and that is when she decided to dedicate her career to helping Teal Magnolias with gynecologic cancers. Dr. Krill earned her medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and completed her residency in gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital, followed by gynecologic oncology fellowship training at the University of California Irvine. As a result, she is skilled in the comprehensive care of women with all gynecologic cancers, providing both medical and surgical treatments. She has written for numerous peer-reviewed publications and is a member of the Gynecologic Oncology Group/NRG Oncology where she has presented research on its behalf at professional society meetings.
- Bonnie Mehr
Director, Integrative Oncology Services
Director, Dr. Diane Barton Complementary Medicine Program
Cherry Hill, NJ
Providing support to people when they need it the most is Bonnie Mehr’s passion, making her role as Director of the Dr. Diane Barton Complementary Medicine Program a natural fit. Over the past 16 years, thousands of cancer patients and survivors have benefited from programs created by Bonnie that focus on the mind, body, and spirit. Programs like reflexology and hand massage, the Tea Cart, chair yoga, and music therapies are all offered at no cost to patients. She is also the editor of the Survivor Times newsletter and oversees the Volunteer and Breast Buddy Programs. When a patient rings the bell, which signifies the end of their chemotherapy or radiation treatment, Bonnie is motivated to continue her work to enrich the lives of cancer survivors.
About The Cooper Foundation
The Cooper Foundation serves as the philanthropic, community outreach and community development arm of Cooper University Health Care, one of the largest health systems in southern New Jersey with over 100 outpatient offices and its flagship, Cooper University Hospital located in Camden, NJ.
About MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper
In October 2013, Cooper University Health Care and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, partnered to create MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. MD Anderson is one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals. This partnership is a full clinical integration between the two programs. MD Anderson at Cooper physicians adhere to the same philosophy, processes, and guidelines set by MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, and patients receive the same proven practice standards and treatment plans provided at MD Anderson. Today at MD Anderson at Cooper, patients have access to more clinical trials, as well as a full range of supportive care services. Advanced, comprehensive cancer services are provided at our Camden, Voorhees, and Willingboro locations. The Cooper Digestive Health Institute locations are fully accredited MD Anderson at Cooper locations providing innovative gastrointestinal cancer prevention, detection, and treatment services. Additional cancer clinical services are provided at multiple locations throughout South Jersey.
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