University of Southern California
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Frag Memorial Endowment Fund

Benefiting the Research of Dr. Lynda Roman at USC Norris

Lynda Roman Mission

Our mission is to provide funding for promising research in ovarian cancer therapies and to be a key contributor to the discovery of a cure. The research will be directed by Dr. Lynda Roman, head of Ovarian Cancer at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. While the research will be conducted at USC, the results will ultimately impact patients with ovarian cancer everywhere. Dr. Roman's collaborative efforts with physicians and researchers both at USC and around the country helped identify treatments for Susie Fragnoli that were largely responsible for her survival for over a decade.

Our Story

To those who knew Susie, she was our rock and inspiration. She was so determined to beat cancer that we thought she wouldn't lose this fight. She refused to be treated as a patient because, for her, a day of chemotherapy was simply a "speed bump," a part of her living journey.

And regardless of how hard Susie's day might have been, she carried herself with dignity and grace, radiated positive energy and enthusiasm, and reminded all of us that every day "is a great day." She filled her time with activities focused on making life better for her family and friends. Susie greeted everybody with a huge smile, her unique wit, and continuous words of love and encouragement. These qualities allowed Susie to connect with different people at a very personal level, and many considered Susie to be one of their closest friends and their personal rockstar.

The Frag Memorial Endowment Fund has been established in memory of Susie Fragnoli by her family and friends. Susie passed away on December 4 after an 11.5-year battle with ovarian cancer. Susie was passionate about the need to further research and provide better therapies for survivors of ovarian cancer. She was dedicated to raising money for this purpose during her lifetime.

Ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women, yet is often discovered only after it has metastasized. In Susie's case, she had no family history of the disease, no risk factors, and led an active and healthy lifestyle. The disease manifested itself in its typical way; Susie was feeling more tired than usual, while she was newly remarried, building a house, working as an executive at a large media company and trying to blend a family with four kids. She attributed her tiredness to the workload, so she didn't believe she was sick. When she learned otherwise, the cancer had advanced to Stage III. Unfortunately, Susie's experience is far too common.

Surgery and therapeutic treatment for ovarian cancer patients are administered in almost all cases with a standard set of protocols. Despite its prevalence, research funding for new and more effective treatments has not been a priority of major cancer research institutions or charities historically, nor of the US government. In fact, there has been little change in protocols or patient survival rates for many years.

Susie's journey with cancer made clear that further and significant efforts for research are critical. With more funding, scientists and practitioners can conduct cutting-edge experiments to better understand this disease and develop new, targeted treatments. It will allow them to explore how the disease develops and spreads, how to anticipate changes in the character of the disease, and to understand the highly individual character of the disease among different women. Most importantly, it will give practitioners more tools to save women's lives.

On behalf of Susie's family (her husband David, her children Devon, Dylan, Ben and Rachel and her mother, Joan) and her friends, we thank you for your support and hope that you will be a "rockstar" for Susie. Please contribute generously and join us in making this effort a force in the field of ovarian cancer research and, one day, making ovarian cancer nothing more than, as Susie would say, a "speed bump."

The Frag Memorial Endowment Fund has been instrumental in developing an active anti-cancer immunotherapy (treatment that uses the body's immune system to help fight cancer) in cell culture and animal models of ovarian cancer. Dr. Lynda Roman and her team successfully developed an immunotherapy approach based on human immune cells (CAR-T cells) targeting a specific protein on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. The researchers were able to demonstrate that these CAR-T cells can kill ovarian cancer cells grown in cell culture, and are currently evaluating their activity in animal models.

Make your donation using the button below. Be sure to click on the "Memorial or honorarium information" link on page two of the donation form and indicate your gift is in memory of Susie Fragnoli. If you would like to make your contribution by check or donor advised fund, please make the check payable to "USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center" and write "The Frag/Lynda Roman" in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to the following address with an accompanying cover letter that includes your full name, preferred mailing address and phone number, and designation of the gift (The Frag):

Laura Asok
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ezralow Tower
1441 Eastlake Ave, Suite 8302
Los Angeles, CA 90089. 

USC Norris is part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and University of Southern California and use USC’s Federal Tax ID Number: 95-1642394.

Giving Website

Donation Thermometer, Goal: $500,000, Current: $387,505