Named for an inspiring young woman who demonstrated remarkable spirit before succumbing to colon cancer on January 18, 1997, the Cindy Matters Fund was established less than three months later and raised $1,100,000 for UCSD and Children's Hospital cancer care programs between 1997-2006. The fund now focuses primarily on reaching out to children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases, creating - we hope - a pleasant diversion from their illness.
The Padres roll out the red carpet for children facing serious illnesses throughout the season. These "Very Important Padres," recommended by local support organizations and health caregivers like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Rady Children's Hospital and other healthcare organizations, get to come down to the field before a game during batting practice, meet their favorite players, and then watch a Padres game from special seats. Players also make periodic visits to hospitals to visit those children that aren't able to make it to the ballpark.
The Padres have supported Rady Children's Hospital's Celebration of Champions event since it's inception in 1996, providing funding and several players as participants each year. Celebration of Champions is a relay "race" for patients from Children's Hematology/Oncology Department in which the children carry a torch and run/walk/etc. with a local celebrity and their family and pass the torch to the next child.
Between 1997 and 2006, the Padres "Medical All-Stars" program honored 117 cancer care specialists and researchers for their tireless work and tremendous research advances. This program began when San Diego's biotech community was little known to the mainstream public. Thanks to the many medical breakthroughs, research successes and a tremendous growth in the industry over the past 10 years, San Diego is now known world-wide as a city rich with research activity. Though the program has come to an end, we are proud of the distinguished honorees who participated in this 10-year long program. To view a listing of each year's All-Stars and the institutions they represented at the time, please click on the appropriate year below.
The Cindy Matters Fund is a perpetual tribute to an exceptional young woman whose valiant fight against cancer inspired and enriched the lives of Padres players and front office staff alike.
Cindy Matters first came into the lives of the Padres in the spring of 1996, when her employer suggested some players from her favorite team might help her through her battle with cancer. Catcher Brad Ausmus took it upon himself to record a videotaped message from spring training for Cindy, with the help of some of his teammates. Then, it was Ausmus who was on the receiving end of Cindy Matters' ceremonial first pitch on April 10, 1996, on Community Leaders Night. Indeed, it was apparent that Cindy not only was touched by how the Padres had embraced her, but the Padres' players and staff were touched by her boundless courage.
When Cindy Matters died at age 28 on Jan. 18, 1997, after a battle with inoperable colon cancer, the Matters family, the Padres family and the San Diego community lost a special person. The Padres are honored to perpetuate her memory with The Cindy Matters Fund.