Padres' contributions go beyond SU2C

Padres' contributions go beyond SU2C

SAN DIEGO -- This season, the Padres were the first Major League team to partner with Stand Up To Cancer, an initiative that was created to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research.

This month, the Padres made a $309,071 donation to the Hollywood-based institution, which, overall, raised the financial contribution of the organization to nearly $318,000.

This was an easy cause to get behind for the organization, especially those who have dealt with the disease personally or had family members battling cancer.

In October, Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn, who spent his entire playing career in San Diego, revealed that he was about to begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments for parotid cancer.

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The cancer was discovered last month after the former Padres star had a third round of surgery since 1997 to remove a tumor on the parotid gland.

Gwynn's son, Tony, is an outfielder for the Padres.

"It's one of those things that I have always been sympathetic to," said Gwynn, the son. "I lost a grandfather to cancer. So it's always something that struck close to home.

"But when it's your father, you have to step back and re-evaluate things. I think that's why it has made me happy that the Padres were the first team involved with Stand Up To Cancer. It's a great thing."

Gwynn said his father, who is the head baseball coach at San Diego State, is handling his chemotherapy treatment well.

"As anyone who has gone through this, he has good days and bad days. But my dad is the strongest person I know, and I know he'll be fine," Gwynn said.

Cancer also touched Dave Roberts, who will be the Padres' first-base coach next season after spending last season as a special assistant in the baseball operations department. Roberts was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in March and has completed his chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Heath Bell, the Padres' All-Star closer, was a big proponent for Stand Up To Cancer and not just because his father, Jim, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer this year.

"I think everybody has somebody they're personally doing it for, but we're all coming together and doing it for a cause," said Bell, who said last week that his father had not only completed his treatments but also was doing very well.

"We might be doing it individually, but in the grand scheme of things, we're doing it for a purpose. I truly think we can find some way of beating cancer."

The money was raised through a combination of partner support -- STANDiego, donation bins, event patches, online contributions, SU2C friends, Stand Up Stadiums and the inaugural Western Metal Concert Series.

In addition to Stand Up To Cancer, the Padres were again involved in several charitable endeavors.

The team provided more than $270,000 in support to charitable events and organizations. To date, the Padres have supported more than 500 community events, schools and other local organizations.

Since 1995, the Padres have raised more than $6 million through fan donations, corporate partners, player donations and ownership support.

During the 2010 regular season, the Padres distributed more than 107,000 tickets to many organizations, families and military personnel through player ticket programs, sponsor ticket programs, season ticket holder donations as well as the Major League Baseball's Commissioner's Initiative and Players Give Back Campaign.

As the "Team of the Military," the Padres provided more than 67,000 discounted tickets to the local military community.

The organization highlighted 16 specific charities this past season, providing increased exposure, access to players and in-ballpark support. The 2010 charities all support the Padres Foundation's vision of "Live, Learn and Play" and are active members of the community.

The Padres also celebrated San Diego's military history by hosting their annual Military Opening Day, with player appearances at military bases; donating game tickets to Marine recruits; wearing desert camouflage jerseys for Sunday home games; providing military discount ticket programs; and conducting on-field re-enlistment ceremonies before games as well as other outreach programs.

In December, the Padres' Holiday Caravan will consist of a visit to Wounded Warriors at Naval Regional Medical Center San Diego and will present a check to the Fisher House for a portion of the proceeds raised through the sale of military logo merchandise in 2010. The caravan will also include a visit to the San Diego Armed Services YMCA to deliver gifts collected by Padres employees.

The Padres Foundation's Cindy Matters Fund hosted 30 VIPs (Very Important Padres) at the ballpark in 2010. The VIPs are children and their families who are facing life-threatening illnesses and need the opportunity to "just be a kid" for an evening. These VIPs visited players on the field before the game, watched the game from the owner's suite, complete with food, beverages and souvenirs.

In 2010, Padres players made more than 200 community appearances, greeting fans including those from Make-A-Wish, local hospitals and other nonprofit organizations.

Player outreach also includes participating in organized events such as Player Photo Day, Junior Padres Sunday Signings and off-season caravans, and individual outreach programs and autograph sessions throughout the community like the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, STAR/PAL Superheroes for Youth luncheon and Rady Children's Hospital's Celebration of Champions event.

"With the money going around these days [in players' salaries], there's no reason why you can't give back to the community," Gwynn said. "We don't have jobs unless people come out and watch us play. Responsibility is a strong word, but whatever the word is below it ... that suits it well.

"My belief is it is somewhat selfish to not want to give back."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.