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Third Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper Benefit Dinner Raises More Than $90,000

CAMDEN, N.J.— The President and CEO of the Cooper Foundation of Cooper University Health System Susan Bass Levin announced tonight that the Third Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper Benefit Dinner raised more than $90,000 for lung cancer research at Cooper Cancer Institute.

More than 200 people gathered at Ponzio’s Diner-Bakery-Bar in Cherry Hill for the dinner, which celebrated the life of Jim Fifis, who was the long-time owner of Ponzio’s before he died of lung cancer in 2007.

“Jim Fifis was always looking for ways to help others, even when he was sick,” said Levin.  “The Cooper Foundation is proud to work together with the Fifis family to honor Jim and ensure that Cooper continues to provide the best in lung cancer care in South Jersey and the region.” 

Prior to his passing, Fifis 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.

“My dad always concerned himself the well-being of others, and his final wish was to protect other families from going through what we went through when he became ill,” said Nick Fifis.  “Supporting the Lung Cancer Center at Cooper provides us a wonderful opportunity to honor his legacy and care for people in our community.”

Also in attendance at the event were Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn; Cherry Hill Council President David Fleisher; Cherry Hill Councilman John Amato; Alexander C. Markowits, President and CEO of Spring Hill Senior Communities, and Shawn Ravitz, Vice president of Administration for Cherry Hill Supermarkets.

Now in its third year, the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper builds support to help ensure that patients have access to the best possible lung cancer care in South Jersey and the region.

“The support we have received from The Cooper Foundation and the Fifis family has already gone a long way to support lung cancer research at Cooper,” said Frank W. Bowen, M.D., thoracic surgeon and director of the Lung Cancer Center at Cooper Cancer Institute. “Research is key to improving lung cancer diagnosis and treatment options for our patients.”

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.

Cooper Cancer Institute is South Jersey’s leading provider in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Cooper’s reputation for excellence can be attributed to its multidisciplinary approach to cancer care in which each patient is under the care of an entire team of specialists.

Next month, the new $100 million MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper will open on the Cooper Health Science Campus in Camden.  The state-of-the-art center will provide expanded programs and services and create an environment that further fosters a team approach to medicine.

About Cooper University Health Care Cooper University Health Care is 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. It is the premier university hospital serving South Jersey and the Delaware Valley. Cooper has reaffirmed its role as a leader in medical education and research with the opening of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in 2012, the first four-year allopathic medical school in South Jersey. Cooper is renowned for signature programs in cardiology, cancer, critical care, pediatrics, trauma, orthopaedics and neurosciences. Cooper is also home to the only state designated Children’s Hospital in South Jersey—The Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper. Over the last decade, Cooper has transformed its Camden City neighborhood into the Cooper Health Sciences Campus. In fall 2013, a new freestanding cancer center for comprehensive care, will open on the Health Sciences Campus. Cooper also continues its regional expansion with the opening of new and expanded facilities throughout Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties.