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Methodist takes third swing at striking out lung cancer

Three strikes to get lung cancer out.

New York Methodist Hospital held its Third Annual Fred L. Mazzilli Lung Cancer Screening Awareness Day, on Thursday, November 5. For the event, attendees consisting of patients and baseball fans gathered at the Carrington Pavilion Atrium for an educational lecture about the disease, free spirometry (lung function) screenings, raffles and the chance to meet and greet Fred’s brother, former MLB All-Star New York Met and Yankee Lee Mazzilli.

Dr. Anthony Saleh, who treated Fred before he died of lung cancer in 2012, led the presentation to discuss the legacy his patient left behind. “We want to make Fred Mazzilli’s legacy not his death. We want to make his legacy his life to prevent what occurred to him from occurring to others,” he said. “This was the quintessential gentleman who had a giving and caring spirit.”

Saleh addressed the importance of taking precautions against the disease which afflicts more than 200,000 people in the U.S. per year. “Lung cancer screening is a serious matter,” he said. “It requires a lot of attention, passion and I request all of you to take your own health into your hands. What we want is a center of excellence which honors Fred’s memory and provides a service for this entire community. We want to be the center of excellence that Brooklyn looks to when it comes to lung cancer.”

The doctor, who lost his mother to lung cancer, hopes others will benefit from Methodist’s efforts. “It’s too late for my mom and it’s too late for Fred, but it’s not too late for many others. Programs such as our Fred Mazzilli Lung Cancer Screening Program are going to be integral in that.”

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Jaime DeJesus
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Jaime DeJesus

Once Saleh concluded his presentation, Mazzilli addressed the crowd to discuss the growing foundation and how power in numbers can go a long way. “Some foundations wish someone would give them $1 million for this great cause and I don’t really want that,” he explained. “What I want is a million people giving me a check for a dollar. That’s what we need. We need the word to spread. Every year, we are getting more people involved.”

As he had at the previous two events, Mazzilli thank Saleh for treating his brother with exceptional care and attention. “I remember coming here from Connecticut,” he said. “I was here at nighttime and Dr. Saleh was there every day at my brother’s bedside. Along with his knowledge, he put his heart and soul into my brother’s care. That’s what you want in a doctor.”

Mazzilli then presented the hospital with a couple of gifts, including a large framed photograph of Yankee Stadium with the park’s Diamond Vision video screen reading, “Yankees welcome New York Methodist Hospital & the Fred L. Mazzilli Foundation!”

“It’s a little gift that hopefully you can display in the hospital and realize you’re a big part of our lives,” he said.

Mazzilli then presented the hospital with a check for $30,000 for lung cancer screenings. “Today, hopefully, we all learned something. I learned that lung cancer is bigger than breast cancer and prostate cancer and colon cancer combined,” he said. “For whatever reason, lung cancer is labeled as smoking cancer, but it’s not. Maybe that’s why these big corporations pull away from it, thinking that it’s self-inflicted. It’s not.”

For more information or to donate, visit www.fredlmazzillifoundation.com.

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