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Cub scouts aim big for cancer fund

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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A small group of Wiemar Hills cub scouts have a big goal. The cub of Den Eight, Meadow Vista Pack Six want to raise $10,000 to donate to the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. The fourth-grade boys of Den 8 plan to get there $10, one balloon and one memory at a time. With the Amgen Tour of California coming up, den leader, Dana Hofheinz learned about an opportunity for her den to create balloons in memory of people affected by cancer to line the walkways of Recreation Park during the Gold Country Century Ride and Amgen Tour Stage 3 celebration, on May Many of the cub scouts had family members who either survived or lost their battle with cancer, which drove home to them how important this project was. “It’s to help raise money for the cancer society, to help people who are still battling cancer,” said Weimar Hills student and cub scout Jess Barrett. Both of Barrett’s grandfathers had cancer. One lost his life to it. Cub Scout Dominik Hofheinz also lost his uncle to skin cancer. He will be creating a balloon in his memory, while another will highlight his grandpa, who survived cancer. Dennis Bennett of Auburn, whose wife Betty is organizing the stage 3 celebration festival, is a cancer survivor of 30 years. Bennett had testicular cancer, similar to world-champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. He shared his story in hopes that people would realize the importance of donating to cancer research. “I was diagnosed 30 years ago. At the time it was paramount to almost a death sentence I continue to receive an encouraging prognosis from the oncologist,” Bennett said. “When you get diagnosed at such an early age, it really changes your perspective on life and it affected me in that way. There is hope for those who have cancer.” Part of that hope comes from treatments that have been created through research. Amgen is a pharmaceutical company that manufactures cancer-related drugs. With that tie, several programs have partnered with Amgen to raise money or help cancer survivors. The Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund was started in 2001. In 2007, it received a$1.5 million donation, which will stay in the fund indefinitely to raise interest. Each year it generates about $75,000, according to Virgil Traynor, a local cancer survivor, who helped start the fund. “So far it has raised a total of $300,000. It supports basic cancer research at UC Davis. It is all local, all voluntary. Any fund is good, anything that supports cancer research,” Traynor said. “I think it’s wonderful that another group has joined up and is getting it connected with Amgen.” Den 8 hopes to see 1,000 or more blue and gold balloons lining the walkway. Dana Hofheinz said while the goal may seem extraordinary, it is what the Den has set its sights on. Betty Bennett said she hopes Auburn rises to the challenge. “I would just say it’s going to add a lot of memory and festivity to the Gold Country Century and stage 3 celebration,” said Bennett. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ What: 1,000 balloons to raise $10,000 for the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund Who: Wiemar Hills Cub Scouts, Den Eight, Pack Six For donation forms visit www.goldcountrycentury.com or the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, 601 Lincoln Way, Auburn.