By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photo by Joe Lumaya/Ventura County Star

Date auction benefits United Cancer Advocacy Action Network

September 30, 2014

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Five-year-old Alex Kahn, the junior CEO of the Ventura County Business Bureau, generated $150 on the auction block as the "mystery date" at a charity auction to benefit the United Cancer Advocacy Action Network.

"This is one nonprofit organization that we certainly like to help out," said the boy's father, A.J. Kahn, of Thousand Oaks, executive controller of the Ventura County Business Bureau.

The sixth annual charity date auction to benefit UCAAN took place Sunday night at The Tipsy Goat in Thousand Oaks, where 22 bachelors and nine bachelorettes put themselves on the auction block to raise money for the grass-roots charity founded by Rachel Shur, of Thousand Oaks.

"It's important for me to see Rachel's organization thrive; she puts so much into her cause to help patients," Kahn said. "People are scared and not understanding where to go at a time of darkness, and Rachel helps provide those resources that really shed light."

Bachelorette Jessica Harris, of Thousand Oaks, met Shur in high school and has volunteered with UCAAN for the past two years.

"My grandmother died of leukemia — my grandmother's whole generation all died within a year of each other all from some form of cancer," Harris said. "Hopefully through this benefit, Rachel can pay some of her expenses so she can do all the amazing things she wants to do."

Sunday's benefit was expected to generate at least $5,700, which will help UCAAN pay its rent and other expenses associated with running the charitable organization, Shur said.

UCAAN provides gas cards to help offset expenses to travel to medical treatments, as well as fluoride trays to help prevent dental deterioration caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Donations to the nonprofit also help fund temporary lodging for patients who lose their homes, caregiver assistance, grocery cards and more.

"We are a tiny grass-roots organization; the reality is in order for us to get more money to really help more people, we have to connect with the community," said Shur, 34, who discovered she had final-stage leukemia at age 26.

"What UCAAN does is very unique and not like what anybody else is doing," Shur said. "We're completely different because they're focusing on research and we're focusing on people and we're bridging the gap."

UCAAN helps individuals diagnosed with any kind of cancer and never turns away a patient, Shur added.

"We cater to that patient and find exactly the resources that would really benefit them, so its specialized and customized to people and what they need," Shur said.

Sunday's fundraiser was supported by UCAAN volunteers as well as individuals in the community donating their time.

When Shur was initially in the hospital undergoing treatment, she was already working with patients, said her mother, Jean Fordyce, of Thousand Oaks.

"She was already talking to patients about having hope when she was maybe dying," Fordyce said. "That was the beginning of her passion for helping cancer patients — just being a cancer patient herself."

How to help UCAAN's next date auction is scheduled in February for Valentine's Day. Visit for more information.

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