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The Cooper Foundation Receives $25,000 Gift from Susan Marie Rupp Foundation to Advance Ovarian Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cooper

Photo L to R: Ruth McCullen, Sheree Pfeiffer, Norm Rupp, Susan Bass Levin, David Warshal, MD, Shawn Rupp, Michelle McClaskey

CAMDEN, NJ – The Cooper Foundation today announced it received a $25,000 gift from the Susan Marie Rupp Foundation to advance ovarian cancer research at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. The donation will establish the “Susan Marie Rupp Ovarian Cancer Research Fund” in memory of the beloved Pine Hill woman who lost her courageous 8-year battle with recurring ovarian cancer in 2010 at the age of 52.

“This generous gift from the Susan Marie Rupp Foundation is a fitting tribute to a woman who left a lasting impression on everyone she encountered,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation and an ovarian cancer survivor. “By advancing ovarian cancer research at MD Anderson Cooper, we can provide hope to other women battling this devastating disease.”

Susan Marie Rupp was a lifelong resident of Pine Hill and was devoted to her family, friends, and community. Her commitment to volunteering was fueled by her love of children. Known affectionately to most kids as “Coach Sue” or “Mrs. Rupp,” she was actively involved in youth athletics for 39 years and was a beloved teacher’s assistant for over a dozen years. She touched the lives of hundreds of girls and boys in the classroom and on the sports fields. She and Norman Rupp were married for 30 years and had three sons, Shawn, Ryan, and Scott, along with two precious grandsons, Dylan and Colin.

Susan was diagnosed with advanced Stage IV ovarian cancer in June 2002. Because there are no early detection tests for ovarian cancer, Susan’s cancer was possibly undiagnosed for years, despite yearly gynecologist visits. After several years of remission, her cancer returned and claimed Susan’s life in July 2010.

“My mother was an amazing, caring, and beautiful woman, with the warmest smile, who always inspired the best in others. She taught me that if you dream big and believe in yourself, anything is possible. She is my hero,” said Shawn Rupp. “Our family and Foundation is honored to help fund research in my mom’s name at MD Anderson Cooper, and we continue to be inspired by her to dream big and believe that we will one day see a cure for ovarian cancer.”

Ovarian cancer claims the lives of more than 14,000 women annually, according to the American Cancer Society, and ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. Early ovarian cancer often has no symptoms, and when it does cause symptoms, they are often vague and tend to be symptoms more commonly caused by other things. As the American Cancer Society notes, by the time ovarian cancer is considered as a possible cause of these symptoms, it has usually advanced. At present, there is no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer.

“The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better the chances of survival,” said David Warshal, M.D., Head of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and Director of the Gynecologic Cancer Center at MD Anderson Cooper. “I am tremendously grateful to the Susan Marie Rupp Foundation for its support for ovarian cancer research at MD Anderson Cooper. This gift will help further research into new screening, diagnostic, and treatment methods so that we can save lives.”

The Gynecologic Cancer Center at MD Anderson Cooper is the largest and most experienced gynecologic cancer treatment program in South Jersey. For more than three decades, the Center’s team of specialists has provided compassionate care to women with cancer and precancerous diseases of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, vulva, and vagina.

As a member of NRG Oncology, part of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network, the Center is at the forefront of gynecologic cancer research. In addition, MD Anderson Cooper’s cancer genetics program provides genetic counseling and testing for women who are at greater risk of developing ovarian and other cancers.