Davis, D-backs create cancer charity

D-backs raise money for cancer help

PHOENIX -- After Doug Davis made public his diagnosis of thyroid cancer, calls and e-mails began pouring into the D-backs offices, with fans wanting to know how they could help.

Team president Derrick Hall sat down with his community affairs department and looked at various options. One thing was certain, Davis wanted any money raised to help kids. The D-backs thought any program would be a natural fit with St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Then one night, Hall received a call from D-backs fan Cindy McBride. Anyone who has ever been to a game at Chase Field knows McBride as "Rally Sally," who dances and waves handmade flags for individual players.

"Cindy suggested that anything we do should involve 49, which is Doug's uniform number," Hall said. "As soon as she said it, I thought, 'Perfect.'"

Out of all the discussions, the "49 Fund" was born. The money raised will go to assist the families of children at St. Joseph's that have cancer.

Davis has only recently begun recuperating from surgery to remove his cancerous thyroid, but the left-hander is already working to try to lighten the load for others facing similar challenges.

Davis has partnered with the D-backs to create the "49 Fund" to assist the families with cancer at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. The goal is to raise $49,000, with people making donations in amounts that involve 49, as in 49 cents, $4.90, $49, $490 and $4,900.

"This fund will help thousands of young patients and their families during a difficult time," Davis said in a statement released by the club. "It was great to work with the D-backs to create this program, and I feel honored to be a part of it."

The "49 Fund" will benefit critical programs and support services for children receiving their cancer treatment at St. Joseph's, including diagnosis, treatment, psycho-social therapy and extensive family support programs.

Davis was diagnosed with thyroid cancer towards the end of Spring Training, but went on to make a pair of starts for the team before undergoing surgery to remove his thyroid last Thursday. He is expected to be out of action for at least four-to-six weeks.

"The great thing about Cindy's idea of everything being done with 49 in mind is that fans of all income levels can help out," Hall said. "There's no pressure. It fits any budget from those who can donate 49 cents to those who have the ability to give more. We have an extremely generous fan base, and this gives them an outlet to show their support."

St. Joseph's provides extensive health and social services for children and their families at its Comprehensive Cancer Center. The continuum of care at St. Joseph's also provides access to the Children's Health Center and the world-renowned Barrow Neurological Institute. The advanced treatment options at St. Joseph's are complemented by extensive research in pediatric brain tumors and other forms of cancer.

"We are very grateful to Doug, the D-backs and their fans," said St. Joseph's President Linda Hunt. "The '49 Fund' will have a lasting impact on our programs and help us support children and families who are facing the many effects of cancer."

Fans can donate to the "49 Fund" online at www.dbacks.com/49fund. The D-backs will announce the total money raised at the end of the season.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.