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Nancy Abramson Wolfson

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With a family name that’s practically synonymous with cancer research, it’s no wonder Nancy Abramson Wolfson has dedicated so much of her life to the cause. Inspired by her parents—who established the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania—Wolfson has been involved in fundraising for decades, helping with events like the Daisy Days luncheon for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Five years ago, Wolfson turned her efforts to cancer research. “It effects everybody, whether it’s individually, a family member or a close friend, and nobody’s immune,” says the Blue Bell resident. “Funding really important critical trial and research is where hopefully the cure will come from.”

Wanting to further spotlight the work of Penn Medicine, Wolfson felt the organization needed a signature event. Thus, Philly Fights Cancer was born. “We needed to get the message out that people are coming for care from all over the country and the world,” she says.

Wanting to set the event apart, Wolfson and co-chair Missy Dietz went with a concert-like soiree with big-name talent. Over 1,800 people attended last year, and this month marks its fifth anniversary.

Since its inception, Philly Fights Cancer has raised over $26 million for cancer research, highlighting a different sector of medicine each year. The Oct. 26 event features Andy Grammer, John Mulaney and Hugh Jackman. Past performers have included Jerry Seinfeld, Maroon 5 and Lionel Richie. “Finding the right lineup that will be attractive to people in their 20s and their 50s is the hardest part of our job,” says Wolfson.

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