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Building on basics

Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund

It was a moving end to a memorable day. At a cocktail reception following the announcement of UC Davis Cancer Center’s designation by the National Cancer Institute, Norma Harris, representing the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund, presented Cancer Center Director Ralph deVere White with a $50,000 check to support cancer research at UC Davis.

The money was raised by the Auburn Rotary Club on a single sunny morning in June. The event, a “fun run,” drew a throng of walkers and runners, backed by donor pledges, to the streets of historic Auburn. Other community members contributed by buying $100 raffle tickets. The prize: A brand-new black Subaru sedan, donated by founders of the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund.

Since its inception a year ago, the endowment has generated $200,000 for cancer research at UC Davis. Besides the fun run, Auburn organizers have hosted two golf tournaments, a gala and a vintage vehicle show. More events are planned.

The campaign’s ambitious goal is to raise $1 million for research at the area’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
“And we’re going to make it!” said Virgil Traynor, a UC Davis-trained veterinarian who was treated for prostate cancer at UC Davis Cancer Center eight years ago. Traynor, who has lived in Auburn for more than 40 years, believes his town has the heart and the will to make a major difference in the fight against a disease that claims more than half a million Americans every year. He hopes other towns will do the same.

“Progress is going to be made by scientific discovery,” said Traynor, a founder of the endowment campaign. “And scientific discovery is going to be made at top research centers.”


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Auburn shows how a small town can make a big difference.