NEWS | March 21, 2014

Nine-year effort concludes to fund breast cancer endowment at UC Davis


 After nine years and countless fund-raising events, the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment on Thursday reached its goal of $1.5 million for breast cancer research at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Cancer Center director Ralph de Vere White with KXJZ's Beth Ruyak, a long-time volunteer with the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment at the ACRE event in Sacramento. Cancer Center director Ralph de Vere White with KXJZ's Beth Ruyak, a long-time volunteer with the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment at the ACRE event in Sacramento.

The effort concluded at an annual event sponsored by Association of Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) that drew more than 600 people in the real estate industry from around the greater Sacramento region.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Ralph de Vere White, cancer center director. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the selfless women of the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment, who tirelessly fought to fund a position dedicated to breast cancer research at UC Davis.”

De Vere White said recruitment for a physician-researcher to fill the position will begin immediately.

The Placer Breast Cancer Endowment was started by two friends, both of whom had been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer: Carol Garcia, now a Roseville City Council member, and Teri Munger, who has spent 30 years in the high-tech industry and lives in Granite Bay. The organization had initially hoped to complete the endowment by 2010, but the economic downturn took a toll on fundraising efforts.

Garcia credited Virgil Traynor of the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund for inspiration to drive the breast cancer endowment effort. Traynor’s group fulfilled its mission to fund a basic cancer research chair at UC Davis.

“If not for his connecting us with UC Davis and Dr. de Vere White, we would not have known to do this,” Garcia said. “We are also grateful to Dr. de Vere White and the people at UC Davis. We always knew they were there waiting for us to succeed and were cheerleaders along the way.”

The Placer Breast Cancer Endowment got a boost from another key member of the group, Laura Tyrrell of Granite Bay, who is still battling breast cancer. Laura, a volunteer legislative ambassador for the American Cancer Society, and her husband, Steve Tyrrell, a broker who is a member of ACRE, were instrumental in getting ACRE to select the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment for its charity to support at the annual Broker of the Year Award event.

Carol Garcia, Laura Tyrrell, Teri Munger

“It was beyond my wildest expectations,” said Laura Tyrrell of the event. “It was a major team effort and could not have done any of it without everyone.  It renews my energy to keep fighting this disease.”

Endowed chairs support physician-researchers who not only provide patient care but lead and conduct clinical and translational research that can attract additional National Institutes of Health funds. The person who holds the Placer Breast Cancer endowed chair will also work collaboratively with basic scientists and outside research partners to better understand the origins of breast cancer, develop preventative strategies and improve existing therapies and outcomes for the disease.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit