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News Room: Press Releases

Survivors celebrate life at the ballpark

More than 300 Virtua patients and their families and friends gathered at the Camden Riversharks game on May 22 to celebrate hope and strength during Cancer Survivor's Night. The special evening was sponsored by the Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program.

When survivors arrived at the ballpark, they were greeted by members of the Virtua Fox Chase Cancer team and invited to sign a large banner. Each survivor was given a special pin to wear.

Charles Butler, MD, Virtua surgeon and cancer survivor, kicked-off the night by welcoming the crowd of 4,000. He thanked all the families and friends of survivors for the essential support that they provide. He also introduced a short video about Virtua's Patient Navigation program which featured Kari Kish's personal survival story.

Cancer survivor and long-time Virtua employee Mike Weissmann, along with his three grandchildren, threw out the first pitch to get the game started.

One of the most memorable moments of the evening was just before the fourth inning when the announcer asked all cancer survivors to stand. The crowded ballpark responded with overwhelming applause.

"Many survivors felt honored to be part of the event and were grateful to share the celebration with their children and grandchildren," said Joan Lombardi, manager of the NJCEED Program at Virtua. "Having Cancer Survivor's Night at the ballgame made it fun for everyone. Not only was it a good way to thank our patients, but it create awareness about Virtua's Cancer Program."

Throughout the game, Virtua's patients and their families were treated to a hospitality suite where they visited with their doctors, social workers and nurse navigators.

The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program offers a full range of services including advanced diagnostics, radiation oncology, minimally-invasive surgery and clinical trials. In addition, Virtua also offers genetic testing, patient navigation, support groups and exercise programs for cancer patients.

As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley for seven consecutive years. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.