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UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

By Our Side

News & Features

Titus and Jedidiah Chang © UC Regents 

Survivor stories  

Patients tell their own stories about treatment and recovery.

Robyn Raphael © UC Regents 

Cancer donor stories  

Donors share their inspirational stories of why they support UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Giving to Cancer Center

Pediatric Philanthropy

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center recognizes our many donors and supporters.

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More than just a jar

JoyJars inspire others to "Never Give Up"

JoyJarsEleven-year-old Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors in March 2011. During her treatment, the Orange County youngster did not lose faith or hope. Instead, she kept a strong, fighting spirit that inspired her to launch the Jessie Rees Foundation: Never Ever Give Up (NEGU). The foundation created “JoyJars” filled with goodies for kids fighting cancer in America.

“NEGU is never ever give up,” said Rees in a television interview about her cause just prior to her death in January 2012. “I just want to make them feel happier because I know that they're going through a lot, too.” Beginning with the opening of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center expansion in September, newly diagnosed cancer patients will receive a JoyJar during their first treatment visit, thanks to the generosity of the Jessie Rees Foundation.

Depending on a recipient’s gender and age group, JoyJars are packed with items including, for example, pacifiers, Beanie Babies, crayons, bubbles, Play-Doh, little rubber ducks, earphones, socks, puzzles, bandanas or inflatable balls. In 2011, Rees stuffed and sent more than 3,000 JoyJars to kids throughout the United States. Since May 2012, more than 15,000 children received JoyJars.


Cases for Cheer

Cases for Cheer - Madison Zenker © UC RegentsWhen her aunt began undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, 10-year-old Madison Zenker stitched up a handmade pillowcase for her, in the hopes of providing a little extra comfort and cheer. Her aunt brought it to every treatment session. Today, Cases for Cheer donates vibrant handmade pillowcases to patients with all types of cancer.


Robyn Raphael: Unstoppable Advocate

Robyn RaphaelRobyn Raphael knows firsthand the pain and confusion a family endures when a child receives a diagnosis of cancer. When she lost her 5-year-old son, Keaton Raphael, after a 9-month battle with neuroblastoma, it transformed her into an advocate for childhood cancer research funding at state and national levels as well as a guiding light for families navigating the turmoil of illness.


Team Will

Team Will rider © team-will.orgTeam Will, a group of cyclists from around the region, rode 3,400 miles from San Francisco to Kittyhawk, N.C. to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer. At the outset of their cross-country adventure, the group stopped at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center to visit with pediatric patients. The money raised went to the Foundation for Children with Cancer for financial assistance to families of children with cancer.


Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer

logo © alexslemonade.orgFirst year UC Davis School of Medicine student Marin Nishimura has been awarded a $6,000 grant from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, a Pennsylvania-based philanthropy that supports pediatric cancer awareness and research nationally.



Beads of Courage

logo © beadsofcourage.orgBeads of Courage is a cancer center program funded by the Keaton Raphael Memorial Foundation. It began in the UC Davis Children's Hospital as a collaboration between the Child Life Program and the outpatient nursing staff in the pediatric infusion room.

Each child patient is provided with a bead strand with his or her name. As treatment progresses, the child receives a unique, handmade glass bead to commemorate each procedural milestone. The result: a beautiful strand of beads that "tells" each child's story. Beads of Courage provides children with something tangible to map the progress they make in their recovery, serving as a lasting reminder of their courage past and present, and builds important coping skills and resilience.



St. Baldrick’s: Shaving for Cancer

St. Baldrick's shavees, Nicole Ekedahl and Leslie GarciaFor ten years, St. Baldrick’s Day has raised money and publicity for childhood cancer research by inviting community members to shave their head in solidarity with children with cancer. 2012’s events involved up to 800 shavees and raised more than $350,000, forty percent of which benefited Sacramento-area pediatric cancer research, including at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.



Hyundai Hope on Wheels

Hope on Wheels 2012 event - Francesca Arnaudo and Dr. Rueben FragosoUC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center received a $75,000 donation for pediatric cancer research from Hyundai Hope on Wheels, a philanthropy of Hyundai Motor America and its dealers. The donation helps fund the childhood brain tumor research of Ruben Fragoso, assistant professor of radiation oncology. Since 2005, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has received $335,000 from Hope on Wheels.