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Eighth Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Benefit Dinner Raises $110,000 for MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper

CAMDEN, N.J.— Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, announced tonight that the Eighth 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 200 people gathered at Ponzio’s Diner-Bakery-Bar in Cherry Hill for the dinner, which celebrated the life of Jim Fifis, the long-time owner of Ponzio’s before he died of lung cancer in 2007.

“Jim Fifis gave generously to our community throughout his life,” said Levin. “We are paying it forward as we come together to support lung cancer research and programs at MD Anderson at Cooper and fight this devastating disease.”

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 in the shape of 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 $870,000.  The Fund provides support to lung cancer clinical research programs, the high-risk lung cancer screening program and the use of several innovative tools for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.

“At MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, we are on the forefront of medicine,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of Cooper University Health Care. “We are making advances in lung cancer care each and every day, and with generous support from the Fifis family and the entire South Jersey community we are saving lives.”

Prior to his passing, Jim Fifis asked his three sons, Chris, Nick and John to advocate for a cure for lung cancer and to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.

“We are proud to support the lung cancer program at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper,” said Nick Fifis. “By helping to raise awareness and fund critical research, we are paying tribute to his memory and ensuring his legacy continues.”

Approximately 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women will be diagnosed with  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 when there is the best chance for a positive outcome. .

The Fifis Family underwrites the cost of the dinner so that all funds raised benefit lung cancer programs at MD Anderson at Cooper.

“The doctors, nurses, and entire staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper are grateful to the The Cooper Foundation and the Fifis family for joining us in the fight against lung cancer,” said Generosa Grana, M.D., Director of MD Anderson at Cooper. “Lung cancer is a devastating disease, but through critical research we are identifying new diagnostic and treatment tools that are leading to better outcomes for patients and their families.”

The Eighth Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner was sponsored by Cherry Hill Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram; Vi Fifis, Donna and Rick Forman and the Forman Family; Holman Enterprises, Inc.; Ravitz Family Foundation, and The Women’s Board Committee of The Cooper Foundation.

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, N.J.

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.