Cattlemen for Cancer Research plans Oct. 18 annual auction

Fundraiser benefits MD Anderson in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor

MD Anderson News Release 09/30/14

Cattlemen for Cancer Research (CCR) plans its 16th annual auction benefiting the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The fundraiser,  set for Oct. 18 at the Hills Prairie Livestock Auction Company, 1177 Hwy. 304 in Bastrop, will include a silent auction throughout the day featuring hundreds of donated items. Also planned are a children’s arts and crafts tent, a live cattle auction and a complimentary barbecue lunch.  Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the live auction starts at 2 p.m.

CCR celebrates its fifth annual Hero Award honoring an MD Anderson clinician or researcher for outstanding contributions to the care of patients from Central Texas. This year’s honoree is Gary Clayman, D.M.D., M.D., professor in Head and Neck Surgery.

Clayman, whose interests span basic, translational and clinical research in thyroid cancer, wears many hats at MD Anderson. He is chief of Head and Neck Endocrine Surgery, holds the Alando J. Ballantyne Distinguished Chair of Head and Neck Surgery, serves as deputy head of Surgery for academics and is medical director for Health Care Provider’s Experience. He lectures nationally and internationally on managing thyroid malignancies through surgery. The author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, he sits on the editorial board of several international journals, including Clinical Cancer Research, Laryngoscope, Head and Neck and Frontiers in Bioscience.  

CCR also honors cancer survivor Mark Hayes, who credits Clayman with saving his life. Retired after a career working for the state of Texas, Mark has faced cancer three times, and each time he’s fought for his life and his health.

In 1998, Mark was diagnosed with and treated for base of tongue cancer, a serious disease that has a high degree of recurrence. Two years later, Mark’s cancer returned. His doctor in Austin proposed extensive surgery — including removal of his tongue and vocal cords — that would leave him unable to eat or speak.

Mark refused to accept that prognosis and asked for a referral to MD Anderson. He found himself under the care of Dr. Clayman, who believed he could remove Mark’s tumor without leaving a permanent disability in its place. Following a successful surgery, Mark enjoyed a smooth recovery with his vocal cords and the ability to eat and drink intact. Mark has not had a recurrence of this cancer in the past 13 years.

In 2007, Mark was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Based on his positive experience at MD Anderson, he knew the importance of a second opinion and how to approach seeking treatment and care.  Mark again had surgery with follow-up radiation treatments and has been prostate cancer-free for seven  years.
CCR was established in 1999 when a group of caring and committed people from Central Texas decided to combine their love of ranching with their desire to improve the lives of neighbors affected by cancer. Its annual cattle auction has raised more than $1.6 million to advance research initiatives and programs at the Keeling Center, which contributes to the understanding and prevention of cancer through comparative research in animal models.

CCR also has raised more than $260,000 for a separate fund to help cancer patients and their families from Williamson, Travis, Lee, Bastrop, and Hays counties. The fund provides financial assistance with lodging, meals and transportation expenses incurred during treatment at MD Anderson in Houston.  

“As a member of the MD Anderson faculty and a citizen of central Texas, I’m proud to work with Cattlemen for Cancer Research,” says Christian R. Abee, D.V.M., director of the Keeling Center. “The CCR continues to make important contributions to improve the lives of those who must deal with cancer.”

For more information on this year’s cattle auction, call 512-321-3991 or visit