Padres to honor breast cancer survivor

SportsSan Diego PadresBaseballCancerBreast CancerNational LeagueMother's Day

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres may have the worst record in the National League, but they are number one as far as Sandy Sibley is concerned.

In her first-grade classroom at Birdrock Elementary School, where she has taught for 21 years, Sibley shows her loyalty to the Padres.

She reads her kids stories about the team, proudly displays pictures from the ballpark, and occasionally, has her kids wear their Padres gear to school.

“I'm a pretty big fan,” Sibley admits.

She says she has held partial-season tickets since 1996 and she and her only son, Scott, usually attend more than 30 games per season.

“When I was little I used to always wear a full Padres uniform to the game,” Scott said. 

So when Scott saw Major League Baseball's honorary online batgirl contest that recognizes one fan from each Major League team who has been affected by breast cancer, he wrote in to nominate his mom - the woman who served as scorekeeper and team mom for his little league teams, who accompanied him to Cooperstown for Tony Gwynn's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and for the past 19 years, has organized the Birdrock Elementary night at a Padres game.

Scott submitted this paragraph:

Even though it was 11 years ago, I remember the day I found out my mom had breast cancer like it was yesterday. I was a junior in high school and there was no way to properly comprehend the thought of losing the person who had always been both a rock in my life, and the reason I've been a lifelong Padres fan and season ticket holder. On top of the cancer news, we were also housing my ailing grandfather and navigating our way through an unexpected and forced house move. They say things always come in three's, they just aren't always a good set of three. Being her only child, while it may not have always been appreciated at the time, I was lucky enough to always have her complete devotion, attention and love. Team mom for my sports team? Check. Delicious food on the table at all times? Check. Countless trips to Padres games and special team events? Check. Always going above and beyond? Double check. And now all of those things could be taken away? Not. A. Chance! Being the fighter that she is, my mom successfully went through a double mastectomy and has been cancer free ever since! She continues to enjoy taking part in Susan G Komen events on a yearly basis, as it is because of the research being done by that foundation, and countless others, that have allowed us to continue looking forward to Opening Day this year…and many years to come! Getting the chance to be an honorary batgirl would be the best Mother's Day gift this mother, teacher and Padres fan could receive!

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Sandy said. “Every time I think about it, it brought tears to my eyes that he can remember that day like it was just yesterday and that he would do this for me.”

Sibley received her cancer diagnosis in August of 2000, had a double-mastectomy two months later and has been cancer free ever since.

Friday, before the Padres play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, she will be recognized on the field at Petco Park as an honorary batgirl, for her devotion to the Padres, for her strength to overcome cancer, and her continued help in the fight to find a cure.

“I think I'm going to be overjoyed and it's going to be exciting,” Sandy said. “I can't wait to see what it's like and see what they have in store.”

And no doubt Mrs. Sibley will have a great story to tell her first-graders on Monday.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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