Cancer group needs to move from Thousand Oaks office in April

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

By: Alicia Doyle


UCAAN needs a new home.

The United Cancer Advocacy Action Network is seeking the community’s help in finding new office space when its lease expires April 30.

The current office in Building E at 1459 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. serves about 20 clients a week who receive one-on-one counseling and family support. Children also do arts and crafts projects in the office.

If UCAAN can’t find another space, clients would lose a dependable place where they feel at home with people who understand what they are going through, said Rachel Shur, of Thousand Oaks, a two-time cancer survivor and founder of the nonprofit organization.

“Also we would have no place for volunteers to come and help, and we would be forced to pay to put everything we have into storage, which would be a cost we may or may not be able to afford,” she said.

Shur’s goal is to have UCAAN become the largest financial support cancer organization in the country.

“I’m beyond passionate about UCAAN because of my own terminal cancer battle and with all the people we have helped over the years,” said Shur, who ran the organization from her home until she moved into the Thousand Oaks office on Nov. 1, 2011. “I have seen how much we have impacted their lives.”

Shur said the property owner offered her the option of a month-to-month lease, as well as six- and 12-month options.

“They specified that after this lease was up that the rent would increase more than we can pay, three times our current rent,” Shur said.

She is seeking office space or a monetary donation of $3,000 to $3,500 per month to pay for a location and operating bills so all fundraising can benefit UCAAN. The current office space is 1,724 square feet, and she hopes to find a space that’s at least 1,500 square feet.

“We are looking for community support in the form of donations, community-created fundraisers, major corporate sponsors,” Shur said. “We appreciate as much as people are able to give.”

Having an office for cancer patients to go to is important, said Jesse Watrous, of Thousand Oaks, a volunteer who serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors.

“People who have cancer feel scared and lost, when they spend time at the office, the security and comfort that Rachel gives make them feel loved and cared for,” Watrous said.

Kaaren Douglas, a retired doctor who cared for cancer patients when she was practicing, said a UCAAN office is also a place were patients can get resources and volunteers can have space to work.

“Knowing Rachel, nothing will prevent her from fulfilling her mission, but it is important to remember that she is also a cancer survivor who needs to be nice to herself,” Douglas said. “When she is stressed out, she just can’t give as much of herself as she would like to the people who need her. Because of that, there may be people who fall through the cracks, that she would have otherwise been able to assist.”

For more information, or contact Shur at