News & Stories


Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Raises $1 Million Since First Event in 2011

Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, announced that the Ninth Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner, held on Sept. 17, raised $125,000 for the lung cancer program at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.

Since its founding in 2011, this annual event has raised more than $1 million to support lung cancer research at MD Anderson at Cooper, South Jersey’s most comprehensive resource for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

“MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is making great strides in the way we diagnose and treat lung cancer,” said George E. Norcross III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Cooper University Health Care. “Support for the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund makes a difference in the lives of patients right here in South Jersey.”

More than 300 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. In addition to the dinner, the event featured a silent auction, music and delicious Ponzio’s desserts.

“As a local business owner, Jim Fifis always gave back to the community,” said Bass Levin. “It is a tribute to his kindness and generosity that this event is so successful in raising funds to fight lung cancer.”

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

“To raise $1 million in honor of my father is very humbling,” said Nick Fifis. “Our family is committed to supporting lung cancer research so that others may be spared from this devastating disease.”

Approximately 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 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, 10-15 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.

“We are grateful to the Fifis family, The Cooper Foundation and generous donors for supporting our work at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper,” said Generosa Grana, M.D., Director of MD Anderson at Cooper. “Thanks to their generosity, we are able to continue our research to identify innovative diagnostic and treatment tools to save lives.”

The Ninth 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, AmeriHealth New Jersey, Delaware Valley Purchasing Group, PATHS, LLC, and The Women’s Board Committee of The Cooper Foundation.

Pictured Above: Leaders from The Cooper Foundation, Cooper University Health Care, MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper and members of the Fifis family at the Ninth Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Dinner held on Sept. 17 at Ponzio’s in Cherry Hill.

Click here for photos from the event.