Breaking new ground for cancer survivors

Group during groundbreaking © UC Regents
Cancer survivors joined health system leaders, physicians and staff as they broke ground on an expansion project that will increase clinic space and unite pediatric and adult cancer services.

Posted June 9, 2010

Nearly 350 people attended the National Survivors Day picnic and groundbreaking ceremony for the UC Davis Cancer Center expansion on Saturday, June 5.

Survivors and their families, as well as cancer center physicians, nurses and staff, gathered and joined UC Davis Medical Center CEO Ann Madden Rice and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Otto as they paid tribute to the donors who have allowed the health system to move forward on the long-awaited expansion project.

Otto led the fundraising effort that made the expansion possible, and he did so to support new cancer discoveries.

“My whole vendetta was against cancer. I was going to do this for research more than anything else,” said Otto, a prostate cancer survivor and former Oakland Raider who now resides in Auburn, Calif.

Jim Otto © UC Regents“My whole vendetta was against cancer. I was going to do this for research more than anything else.”
— Jim Otto

The 46,000-square-foot expansion will increase clinic and other space for adult patients and bring all of the center's pediatric patients into the same building. Co-location will enable collaboration among physicians and researchers and provide continuity of care for adolescents as they transition from pediatric to adult services. Pediatric cancer patients also bring a sense of perspective, inspiration and hope to older patients.

In his comments to the crowd, Ralph deVere White, director of the UC Davis Cancer Center, emphasized the importance of the expansion to rapidly bringing new treatments to Sacramento patients.

Cancer Center expansion rendering
Artist's rendering of the new UC Davis Cancer Center expansion. Click here to view or download high-resolution photograph.

“The only reason for this building — and the only reason for the building that is going to come — is so more people who walk in the doors can walk out as survivors,” said deVere White.

In addition to UC Davis-based patient support groups and programs, numerous community-based organizations set up booths and shared information about their services at the Survivors Day event, including Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society, Carrie's Touch, Save Ourselves and Cases for Cheer.

Storyteller Cheewa James regaled the audience with a talk about the Native American medicine wheel and new beginnings, and Outback Steakhouse fed the guests a barbecue lunch.

Construction is set to begin on the expansion on Monday, June 14, and is expected to be completed in spring 2012. For more information about the cancer center’s fundraising efforts, contact Kathy Lopez at (916) 734-9617.