Sylvester Dedicates Denny Feinsilver Patient Reception Area

Denise “Denny” Feinsilver’s legacy as a fierce advocate and fundraiser for cancer research is now a permanent part of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Denny Feinsilver Patient Reception Area was formally dedicated October 2 during a ceremony that included her family and friends, and the leadership of Sylvester and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“It was a wonderful tribute to Denny, and I could not have been more proud,” said Paul Feinsilver, a member of the Sylvester Board of Governors, who attended the ceremony with his children, Corey and Zack, and grandchildren, Dylan and Alex.

The reception area named for Denny, which is located at the Gail S. Posner Pavilion for Breast Cancer Care at the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute, will serve as a warm and welcoming area for patients and their families.

The pledge will also support the Feinsilver Family Endowed Fund for Cancer Research, which will provide funding for cutting-edge research at Sylvester.

“Denny had a tremendous heart and was an inspiration to all who knew her,” said Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.. “She was always looking for new ways to fundraise, and the results of her dedication will go a long way toward translating laboratory science into medical cures.”

Denny Feinsilver lost her seven-year battle with breast cancer in 2013. Friends remember her as an energetic, passionate, and dedicated woman, who volunteered for a number of organizations, but her real passion was Sylvester. Denny worked tirelessly for the Cancer Center long before her diagnosis, and continued to do so all through her treatment.

Denny sat on the Sylvester Board of Governors, served as a founding member of “Friends for Sylvester” and co-chaired the Board of the Founder’s Society. In 2006, Denny and Paul were honored with the Caroline W. Halpern Award for leadership and philanthropy.

Her daughter, Corey Feinsilver, said the ceremony was a fitting reminder of all her mother worked to accomplish.

“This dedication is ironic in that my mother was someone who didn’t care about having her name on a wall. That’s not why she worked as hard as she did,” said Feinsilver. “But when they came to us with the idea, I thought her name should be on the wall at Sylvester. She is the spirit of Sylvester and her work there got us to where we are today.”

In addition to Denny’s incredible volunteer efforts at Sylvester, the Feinsilver’s total giving has reached more than $2.6 million, including the new endowed fund.

“Endowments like this are critical to the future of this medical school,” said Edward Abraham, Acting Executive Vice President for Health Affairs; CEO of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System; and Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Miller School of Medicine. “They provide the necessary resources that ensure our world-class scholars can continue their research and teaching programs in perpetuity.

The family is also working to make sure one of Denny’s signature projects — “Coupons for a Cure” — continues as a successful fundraiser. The commemorative giving program, launched by Denny in 1998, has raised more than $700,000 to date.

“My mom was an incredible woman, who was always trying to help,” said Zack Feinsilver. “She must have realized there may not be enough time to accomplish all she wanted to, so she worked passionately to get as much done as possible in the time she had.”

The family has also made it their mission to organize and motivate “Team Denny” for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge for a third year, having already raised an incredible $179,440.

Jayne Malfitano, who is a member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees and the vice-chair of the Sylvester Board of Governors, introduced a video honoring her longtime friend and colleague.

She recalled that Denny had a unique spirit, and had a way of making anyone feel like the most important person in the room.

“Denny’s devotion to Sylvester and her community were unwavering,” said Malfitano, who is president and secretary of the board of directors for the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation. “If Denny wanted something done, Denny would get it done.”

Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Marshall Ames, chairman of the Lennar Foundation; University of Miami trustees Barbara Hecht Havenick, Jon Batchelor, and Jose Bared; and Sylvester Board of Governors members Eric Feder, Joan Scheiner, and Ignacio Urbieta.

A video montage honoring Denny Feinsilver can be seen here.

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