Roger and Chaz Ebert to be Honorary Chairs of Medicine Ball Benefiting Cancer Rehabilitation Program - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on May 02, 2008

Roger and Chaz Ebert Named Honorary Chairs of the First Annual RIC Medicine Ball Benefiting Unique Cancer Rehabilitation Program Expansion

Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz, will serve as honorary co-chairs of the first annual RIC Medicine Ball

Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz,
will serve as honorary co-chairs
of the first annual RIC Medicine

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, ranked the nation’s “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America,” today announced that Roger and Chaz Ebert will serve as honorary chairs for the first annual RIC Medicine Ball, an event to benefit the expansion of an integrated Cancer Rehabilitation program.

Roger Ebert was diagnosed with a recurrence of salivary cancer in 2006. Following numerous cancer treatments, he was admitted to RIC for cancer rehabilitation care and regained strength and coordination to get back to his life’s passion – the movies.

“Thanks to RIC, I was able to return to a high level of work and physical performance. It was a godsend,” Ebert said.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than one million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. New treatments, technologies and early detection campaigns have put the cancer survival rate on an exciting incline. Studies show that there are more than 10 million cancer survivors in America alone. RIC’s Cancer Rehabilitation Program is focused on changing the face of cancer care through the integration of rehabilitation medicine and acute, cure-based medical care to help people recover and ultimately regain the ability and get back to life.

“This positive shift in cancer survival brings with it an increased need to understand and build the strengths and abilities that enable individuals and families to thrive in the face of their cancer diagnoses,” said Joanne C. Smith, M.D., president and CEO, RIC. “RIC is honored to have the commitment of Roger and Chaz Ebert to drive the bold vision to redefine cancer care treatment.”
As one of the first in the nation to provide cancer rehabilitation more than a decade ago, RIC is now leveraging its strong clinical track record with the goal of developing the science and care protocols that help patients achieve the best in life despite cancer

RIC’s cancer rehabilitation program treats patients with a range of cancers including breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, liver cancer, lymphoma, spinal tumors, leukemia, ovarian/ uterine cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Cancer rehabilitation includes physical medicine and rehabilitation therapies such as physical, occupational and speech language therapy, which help patients attain a better quality of life and achieve their personal goals. RIC’s program also can include nutrition counseling, specialized nursing care and psychology and psychiatry care.

The first annual RIC Medicine Ball will be held on Sept. 6, 2008, to support RIC’s Cancer Rehabilitation Program. The black-tie benefit will be held at The Chicago History Museum and include dinner, dancing and a live auction. For more information, contact the Women’s Board at 312-238-6023 or

About Roger and Chaz Ebert

Esteemed film critic, Roger Ebert is most notably known for his weekly movie review column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. Ebert's movie reviews are syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad. He has written more than 15 books, including his annual movie yearbook. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Since 1975 he has co-hosted a television movie review program. Ebert was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in June 2005, the first professional film critic to receive one. He also has a star on Sate Street outside the Chicago Theatre.  He was named as the most influential pundit in America by Forbes Magazine and has honorary degrees from the University of Colorado, the American Film Institute, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 1999 he has hosted the annual Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival at his alma mater, the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Chaz (Hammelsmith) Ebert, Roger’s wife, is an attorney and the Vice President of the bert Company.  She serves on the boards of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, After School Matters, and Family Focus.  She is the co-host of Ebert’s film festival and has been a strong supporter of her husband during his battle with cancer.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is making a difference in the world for people with disabilities.  RIC provides world-class care to patients from around the globe for a range of conditions from acute brain and spinal cord injury to chronic arthritis, pain and sports injuries.  RIC, founded in 1954, has been designated the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991 and attributes its leading standard of care in part to its innovative research and discovery, particularly in the areas of bionic medicine, robotics, neural regeneration, pain care and better outcomes. RIC operates its 165-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago, as well as a network of 30 sites of care located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs that provide additional inpatient care, day rehabilitation and outpatient services. RIC also maintains strategic alliances with leading healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and Indiana.