EDISON, NJ – The journey of raising funds for cancer research grants began twenty-nine years ago with a single canister collection can. Since that time the grass roots efforts of the Fifth District AHEPA Cancer Research Foundation have grown tremendously.
On November 3, the Foundation held their 29th Annual Fall Gala celebrating the cumulative awarding of $1,125,000 in cancer research grant giving and honoring the cancer research doctors who receive cancer research grants from the Foundation. Foundation Chairman Antoinette Marousis-Zachariades said that it is hard to believe another year has passed and even harder to believe that 30 years have passed since the Foundation‘s humble beginnings.
Throughout the years fundraising efforts have included annual Galas, Donor Benefactor Programs, Bowl-a-thons, and Capital Campaigns. Financial support from the District 5 AHEPA Family chapters, individual members, the District Lodges, and the Foundations’ many friends throughout the United States and Canada also contributed to the efforts.
The Foundation is the only cancer research foundation in the entire AHEPA Family domain. As well as one of the few Hellenic cancer research foundations of its kind, providing grants in the field of cancer research. What makes these grants unique is that 100% of the monetary award goes towards the sole purpose of cancer research and not administration costs.
AHEPA Past Supreme President Andrew C. Zachariades served as the Master of Ceremonies and introduced AHEPA Supreme Secretary George G. Horiates who noted that the Foundation’s good work has inspired a Brother Ahepan in Rhodes, Greece to start a cancer foundation. He added that raising funds for a cure for cancer is worth the effort, and everyone should be proud to be a part of the Fifth District AHEPA Cancer Research Foundation’s fundraising efforts.
Demi Thomas, Daughters of Penelope Grand President, said that “by the grace of God I am here as a cancer survivor. It is because of cancer research doctors and the good work of the Foundation providing support for their endeavors.”
Each year the Foundation presents Research Grant Awards to the three cancer institutions they support in the Tri-State area. To date, the Foundation has awarded ninety cancer research grants to various institutions in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Marousis-Zachariades noted that “the Foundation is extremely honored to be working with top notch cancer research institutions and doctors who are amongst the best in their field. Again, this year, the Foundation awarded a total of $60,000 in cancer research grants to the following institutions and cancer researchers:
Dr. David C. Lyden, Weill Medical College of Cornell University/Children’s Blood Foundation, New York, NY, received a $20,000 cancer research grant for his study on Lung Cancer and Breast Cancer Metastasis to the Brain. Dr. Lyden thanked the Foundation for their many years of support and is very proud of the Foundation’s contributions to cancer research. He is the Stavros S. Niarchos Professor in Pediatric Cardiology and a scientist in the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and the Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children’s Health at Weill Cornell Medicine
Dr. Edna Cukierman, PhD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, received a $20,000 cancer research grant for her study on pancreatic cancer.
Marousis-Zachariades asked about the apparent rise in cases of pancreatic cancer and Dr. Cukierman replied, “Yes, it is on the rise and we do not know why, pancreatic cancer is the second most fatal cancer at this time.” She noted that this is why the funding provided by the Foundation is so important for her study and she is very grateful for this award.
Dr. Shridar Ganesan, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, received a $20,000 cancer research grant for his continuing study on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. He said, “I greatly appreciate the efforts of AHEPA in consistently supporting cancer research at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. These funds support important scientific studies that we hope will help cancer patients in New Jersey and elsewhere.”
More information about the Foundation is available online: 5thdistrictahepa-crf.org, and on Facebook.
Marousis-Zachariades noted that the 30th Annual Gala will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019.
The Foundation was formed in October 1988, by the Fifth District Order of AHEPA to raise funds from its members and the general public for cancer research grants. Shortly, thereafter the Fifth District Daughters of Penelope came on board uniting the AHEPA Family of District 5 behind a common cause of philanthropic support of cancer research.