The Gold Rush-era community of Auburn, Calif., has raised a million dollars for cancer research.
"What made it work was a just cause and a committed community," said Virgil Traynor, an Auburn
veterinarian who spearheaded the fund-raising effort with his good friend, Dick Azevedo, an Auburn-based
businessman. Traynor was successfully treated for prostate cancer at UC Davis Cancer Center years ago.
"This is a first," said Ralph deVere White, director of the UC Davis Cancer Center. "The
generous people of Auburn are a model for how fund-raising can become a community effort."
The Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund was launched in April 2001. By August that year, 10 donors
had contributed $100,000. The remaining $900,000 came in over the next three years through barbecues,
golf tournaments, motorcycle rallies, calendar sales and fun runs, as well as from continued personal
Organizers have set a new goal: to raise the total amount to $1.5 million. That will fund, in perpetuity,
a faculty chair in basic cancer research at UC Davis Cancer Center. Endowed chairs, one of the highest
honors in academia, allow universities to retain or recruit the best minds in each generation.