Cancer research benefit dinner raises more than $95,000

President and CEO of the Cooper Foundation of Cooper University Health System Susan Bass Levin announced that the third Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper Benefit Dinner raised more than $95,000 for lung cancer research at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.

More than 200 people gathered on Sept. 24 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,” Levin said. “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,” Nick Fifis said. “Supporting the Lung Cancer Center at MD Anderson 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 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 MD Anderson at Cooper. “Research is key to improving lung cancer diagnosis and treatment options for our patients.”