Thursday, March 18, 2010

Madeline Conti Cancer Fund Holds Successful Fundraiser

By Patricia Adams

Howard Beach residents came out in full force on Saturday evening for the 2nd Annual Benefit Gala for the Madeline Conti Cancer Cure Fund (MCCCF) held at Roma View Catering. The fund was started by Howard Beach resident Angela Tuccio in memory of her mother, Madeline Conti who passed away on September 1, 2006 after a 16 month battle with lung cancer.

As president and founder of MCCCF, Angela has worked tirelessly to support the research and work of Dr. Jonathan Gerber who is a physician-scientist in Hematology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. His research is in the cutting edge field of cancer stem cells which give rise to and maintain the growth of various cancers. These same cancer stem cells are highly resistant to most current treatments and are often responsible for recurring disease despite favorable response to initial therapy. It is commonly thought that cancer stem cells must be eliminated in order to finally realize a cure for cancer.

Dr. Gerber’s research specifically focuses on blood cancer or leukemia. His work is aimed at improving our understanding of leukemic stem cells and identifying novel ways to target them. It is the hope that this work will lead to more effective treatments and ultimately, cures for leukemia. The research is expected to apply to many other cancers as well. The doctor received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the Johns Hopkins University going on to earn his degree in medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has remained at Johns Hopkins where he is working to complete a fellowship in hematology where he is expected to stay upon completion of the fellowship.

A proclamation from the office of state Sen. Joe Addabbo was presented to Dr. Gerber for his outstanding research accomplishments and his dedication to the cure of cancer. “I had the pleasure and the privilege of participating in the care of Madeline Conti for whom this Foundation is named,” said Dr. Gerber. “Madeline exemplified the spirit and heroism of patients with cancer. Angela has similarly exemplified the devotion and tireless support of caregivers.” He went on to praise Angela Tuccio for harnessing her efforts in support of research so that other families facing cancer may find help through their suffering.

Angela Tuccio moved the audience with touching words of praise for Dr. Gerber and his wife Linda, describing the incredible support the doctor and his wife extended in Madeline’s care, often spending hours on the phone delivering help and advice in addition to making recommendations to Madeline’s doctors in New York.

The Foundation presented a check in the amount of $40,000 to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Care Center at John’s Hopkins for the continuance of Dr. Gerber’s Research. For more information about the fund, visit their website at

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