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Daughter Sells Note Cards in Memory of Her Mother; Money Raised Supports Fox Chase Cancer Center's Nancy Fund for Ovarian Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (July 6, 2000) -- When Sande Pisik dabbed her horsehair paintbrush into the black ink well on her easel, she never imagined the design that flowed from her brush would somehow be used to raise money in the battle against cancer. But it's understandable why it came to be. Her mother, Nancy, died of ovarian cancer when Sande was only 37.

Nancy's cancer diagnosis was a devastating blow to her beloved family because they knew what lay ahead. While there have been improvements in the treatment of ovarian cancer over the last 20 years, not much has changed in the way this cancer eventually kills. Often called the "disease that whispers" ovarian cancer has very few symptoms, but none are different from what seems normal. Because there are no outward signs that something is wrong, the disease is undetectable and often isn't diagnosed until it has reached advanced stages. That was the case with Sande's mom. She had stage three ovarian cancer.

Shortly after her diagnosis in September 1982, Nancy began treatment at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under the talented hands of Drs. Robert Ozols and Robert Young, internationally renowned ovarian cancer physicians and researchers. Nancy followed when her doctors when they moved to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

"With the dedicated efforts of Drs. Ozols and Young, my mother lived a remarkable nine additional years with this disease, continuing to play golf and becoming something of a legend at the sport, even winning several tournaments in her class. But despite her positive outlook and zest for life, ovarian cancer waged a final defeat." Nancy Pisik died in March 1991. She was 60 years old.

"My mother was full of life. She looked at this disease as something to LIVE WITH- not something to die from. She was always very positive. Dr. Ozols would tell me that 'if he could bottle her spirit and give it to others patients- it would be as effective as the medicine.' She was definitely good medicine for me."

The spirit of Nancy Pisik lives on through her daughter's talented artwork pictured on the front of the note cards she now sells to raise money for ovarian cancer research at Fox Chase.

"Soon after college, I took a Chinese landscaping painting class and finally finished a painting good enough to frame in 1988," Pisik said. "An office mate noticed my work and said the painting would make a nice note card. He arranged to have the cards made. I would give them to friends as gifts and they wanted to buy more. Since I'm not an artist by trade, I decided to sell them and donate the money. It was the perfect way to raise money for Fox Chase Cancer Center and The Nancy Fund."

Her inspiration to do charity work came from the home. "Mom and dad (George Pisik) had a strong zest for life and were wonderful role models for my two sisters and myself. They both raised funds for NCI and then for Fox Chase. Together, they raised over $60,000 among family and friends."

To honor her mother's legacy, the family established The Nancy Pisik Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The Fund supports laboratory and clinical research to help doctors improve the treatment for this disease. Ovarian cancer remains the number one gynecologic cancer killer in this country, cutting down the lives of some 14,000 women each year.

"More work needs to be done to learn about this disease. We need screening tools so that the disease can be caught early when it can be treated effectively. But research takes money, and I'm trying to do my part by selling the note cards. Every dollar that comes in from the sale of the cards is donated to Fox Chase ovarian cancer research."

To date, Ms. Pisik has sold 1,000 cards. If you'd like to purchase a set of Sande Pisik's blank bamboo note cards to benefit The Nancy Pisik Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research, please contact her at s.pisik@worldnet.att.net or 212-473-7578, or you can purchase them at the Fox Chase Cancer Center gift shop. The cost is $15 for a pack of 10 note cards and envelopes.

If you'd like to make a donation to The Nancy Pisik Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research, please send your check to Fox Chase Cancer Center in care of the Institutional Advancement Office, 7701 Burholme Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at: www.fccc.edu.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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