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Cooper Foundation and Ponzio’s Raise More Than $80,000 for Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper

The Cooper Foundation President and CEO Susan Bass Levin announced today that the Foundation and Ponzio’s Restaurant and Bakery raised more than $80,000 for the newly established Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper.

Fifis was the long-time owner of Ponzio’s before he died in 2007 of lung cancer.

“Jim Fifis was a strong man, and he would be proud to know that his family and friends are honoring his memory by helping others fight cancer,” said Levin. “The Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Fund at Cooper will help ensure that patients have access to the best possible lung cancer care right here in South Jersey.”

More than 200 people gathered at Ponzio’s on Tuesday, September 20 to celebrate the life of Jim Fifis and raise money for the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper.

Fifis was a lifelong smoker. Prior to his passing, he 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.

“This was our father’s dying wish,” said Nick Fifis. “He did not want other families to have to go through the pain we went through. We could think of no better way to remember our dad and his love for the community than by partnering with Cooper to help fight lung cancer.”

Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer in both men and women, and approximately 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women will get lung cancer in their lifetime. While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, up to 15 percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked. Exposure to high levels of cancer causing chemicals, radon gas, asbestos and radiation can also increase your risk.

“By working together and pooling our expertise, our multidisciplinary lung cancer team provides each patient with a comprehensive evaluation and individualized treatment plan,” said Frank Bowen, M.D., director of the Cooper Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Center. “This unique approach leads to highly coordinated, quality patient care and superior patient satisfaction.”

To help support the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper, The Cooper Foundation and Ponzio’s launched the “Cooper Cookie.” Cooper Cookies were sold at Ponzio’s, Cooper University Hospital and Ravitz ShopRites stores. The cookies cost $5 each, and all proceeds benefited the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper.

Posing with cookies

Posing with a few Cooper cookies at the event are (l to r) John Fifis, Cooper Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Center Director Frank Bowen, MD, Cooper Unviersity Hospital Chairman George E. Norcross, III, Cooper Foundation President & CEO Susan Bass Levin, Violetta Fifis, Nick Fifis, Cooper University Hospital Vice Chair Joan Davis, and Chris Fifis.