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UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Prostate cancer survivor, Rollie Swingle (with Dr. Primo Lara)  

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Extending the reach of research

Auburn community's endowment fund fuels discovery engine

Virgil Traynor and his wifeThe Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund got its start in 2001 after three friends in the Sierra foothills city got together over a cup of coffee and decided to raise money for the war on cancer. By 2006, they had enlisted dozens of friends and businesses in the campaign and had amassed a whopping $1.5 million, enough to fund an endowed chair in basic science research.

Since its establishment, the fund has produced annual dividends of about $70,000 to support work coordinated by Hsing-Jien Kung, director of basic research at the cancer center who also holds the endowed chair in basic research. Kung says the financial help from Auburn is “absolutely critical” to the cancer center’s research mission, particularly at a time when the scramble for federal dollars is more competitive than ever.

Prostate cancer survivor Virgil Traynor and two other friends launched the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund in 2001. Traynor is pictured above with his wife.


Roseville activist leads breast cancer fundraising efforts

Carol GarciaCarol Garcia’s roots reach deep into the city of Roseville – five generations’ worth. That might explain why, after getting her college degree at Sacramento State University, she returned home to raise her family and launch her career.

It’s lucky for Roseville – and the greater Sacramento area – that she did.

Today, the community recognizes her work as a city council member, tenure leading the Roseville Chamber of Commerce and job as senior vice president of Granite Community Bank.

But they may not be aware of her contribution toward finding cures for breast cancer through the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment that she co-established. The group aims to raise $1.5 million for an endowed chair at UC Davis Cancer Center.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 at age 39, Garcia has taken on the cause with the same kind of energy and enthusiasm she has for her other civic priorities.


A community unites to take on cancer

Amador County residents launch a foundation to fund research

Landgraf FoundationIn 1973, John and Helen Landgraf established an endowed cancer research fund at UC Davis in memory of their daughter, Christine. Now their other daughter, Cathy, is broadening the impact of what her parents started by involving her community in the cause.

Amador County, where the Landgraf family spent their summers, is now the base for the Amador Cancer Research Foundation. Since it began in 2007, the organization has become known for energetic fundraising events. Its first “Spaghetti Western” was held at Cooper Vineyards in Plymouth last September. More than 450 people showed up – and seriously kicked up their heels.

“It was truly a great party,” says foundation board director Cathy Landgraf about the event, which featured barbecued tri-tip and live country-western music and was emceed by Sacramento television broadcaster Walt Gray.

Aside from providing a good time, the event netted $18,000 – money the foundation intends to donate to UC Davis Cancer Center. But the foundation plans to give the center far more than that.

"We want to get to $1 million plus," says Landgraf.


The Power of staying positive — and golf

Donors’ gift forever links their names with cancer research

Barbara FingerutThe first thing Barbara Fingerut did when she awoke after breast cancer surgery was to try and make a fist. Even through the pain, she was able to do so.

“Oh good,” she thought. “I can still play golf.”

She was out of the hospital in four days, back to work in nine days and swinging a golf club again in four weeks. Fingerut, who had a complete mastectomy on April 19, 1977, has been cancer-free ever since.

The love of golf and a determined, positive attitude have piloted Fingerut throughout life. Her drive to stay positive has gotten her through everything else, including the losses of her mother and husband to cancer.

“It truly is the ‘big C,’ but I don't let it get too big,” Fingerut says.

Her husband died of amyloidosis, an outcome of multiple myeloma, in 2001. He received his treatment and care at UC Davis Medical Center.

Upon her death, Fingerut has named UC Davis Cancer Center to receive stocks and funds totaling $1.5 million to establish the Stanley Allan Fingerut and Barbara Esquibel Fingerut Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

“Both of my family names will be permanently associated with cancer research and the university, and that means a lot to me,” she says. “The endowment is also my hope that our money can help others with cancer. I am very lucky. I am a longtime survivor. And I want others to be very lucky too.”


In pursuit of options

Norman deLeuze fuels the hunt for a nontoxic cure for lymphoma

DeLeuze FamilyNorman deLeuze is a man accustomed to chasing big dreams. In 1968, the engineer teamed up with a colleague at Aerojet General in Rancho Cordova, Calif., to pursue a lifelong goal – the production of world-class wine. Before long, their business, ZD Wines, was born in a rented Sonoma farm building and the partners were producing 350 cases of wine from their first crush.

Now deLeuze is focusing his unbridled determination on another dream – the discovery of a nontoxic cure for lymphoma. Toward that goal, the vintner and his family have established an endowment supporting what they call “the outstanding research approach” of UC Davis oncologist Joseph Tuscano.

The fund was launched in December 2006 with a donation of $313,000 by the deLeuze family, their winery and their friends. DeLeuze is continually seeking outside support for the UC Davis endowment, and hopes it will break the $1 million mark by the end of this year.

While Norman deLeuze lost his battle with lymphoma on Oct. 26, 2007, his family continues to honor his commitment to finding alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.