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Fox Chase Cancer Center's Tree of Life Ceremony Symbolizes Courage and Stands as Memorial To Loved Ones

PHILADELPHIA (December 18, 2001) - Fox Chase Cancer Center celebrated the 13th annual lighting of the Tree of Life in early December. Like many cancer-related events, this year's tree lighting took on a special meaning for one Fox Chase family.

Jill Smith, of Bensalem, Pa., and her family attend the Tree of Life ceremony in memory of her father, Richard Kornstedt, who died of cancer in January 2000.

"My entire family goes to the ceremony. We miss my father, and my children miss their grandfather very much! My mother suggested that my children 'find the brightest light on the tree, and that light is my father's special light'. It symbolized the tremendous amount of love that my father had for his family," Ms. Smith explained.

Fox Chase photographer Paul Cohen spotted the Smith/Kornstedt family by the Tree of Life. Here, Ms. Smith's mother Margaret Kornstedt, of Penndel, Pa., and her children, Ryan Smith, 8-years-old, and Sarah Smith, 5-years-old, search the tree for that "brightest light."

Smith said, "I cannot say enough about the care that my father received during the 10 years he suffered the effects of a rare form of skin cancer. We would like to make a special thanks to Dr. [Mary] Daly, Dr. [Earl] King and all of the nursing staff.

"We will continue to support this event because we know the pain and suffering that this deadly disease can cause. We want to see a cure for this disease."

Sponsored by the Friends of the Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center, the Tree of Life earned nearly $16,000 in donations through the symbolic "purchase" of a light or star. The money is designated for patient care at Fox Chase. All contributors and the names of those honored or memorialized are inscribed in the Friends' Book of Honor, which is placed permanently in the Fox Chase outpatient waiting area.

The Friends of the Hospital is a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds to assist Fox Chase in its mission of providing the very best in research and patient care in the fight against cancer. The Friends of the Hospital is one of eight volunteer groups headed by Fox Chase's Board of Associates.

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

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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