Padres Pedal the Cause will celebrate its 10th year of impact in the fight against cancer during the organization’s signature cycling fundraiser, to be held on Saturday, March 18. In partnership with the San Diego Padres, the annual event at Petco Park is hosted by Curebound, a local nonprofit that raises money for San Diego-based cancer research projects.
“Pedal the Cause started in 2013 with about 350 riders out of a parking lot at UC San Diego and that year we raised $425,000,” said Kate Sinclair, Curebound’s director of communications.
“Over the past 10 years, it has grown and is now somewhere around 2,500 participants and last year we raised $3.2 million,” Sinclair said. “Over the course of the last decade, we’ve raised and donated $18 million, 100% of which goes directly to cancer research in San Diego. All of the money stays right here.”
Proceeds from the March 18 event will go toward collaborative cancer research between Curebound’s six institutional partners – Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Salk Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys, Rady Children’s Hospital, La Jolla Institute for Immunology and Scripps Research.
Pedal the Cause was founded by San Diego real estate developer Bill Koman and his wife, Amy, after Bill survived two bouts with cancer. The couple was living in St. Louis at the time. “It started in 2004 when I was diagnosed with lymphoma. I had very young kids – three daughters, at that time,” Bill Koman told the Business Journal. “I got out of treatment, went into remission, and then it occurred about a year later. I had to go back to the same treatment plan and ended up having a bone marrow transplant.”
The journey motivated the couple to launch their cancer research fundraiser, Pedal the Cause, which still operates in St. Louis. “When you look around the country at the top 10 or 20 athletic-based charitable events, probably 20% of them are bike-based events, so it seems like many of the ones that resonate the most with people are raising funds around something athletic. It also seems like cancer is the biggest common factor between those events.”
In 2010, the Komans moved from St. Louis to San Diego where Bill became a board member with Moores Cancer Center and the couple later launched the local Padres Pedal the Cause.
In 2021, Curebound was formed as an evolution and expansion of Padres Pedal the Cause. “Out here, you’ve got all of these great cancer research institutions,” Bill added.
In 2018, UC San Diego opened the Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion, named in recognition of Bill and Amy’s dedication to healthcare research.
This month’s Padres Pedal the Cause is gearing up to surpass $20 million in fundraising. Some of the courses include cycling rides over the Coronado bridge and a 5K run/walk downtown. Rooftop spin classes with a live DJ will be held on the historic Western Metal Supply Co. building overlooking Petco Park. The event is open to the public and will include survivors, physicians, scientists and some former Padres players.
“The Padres are incredible partners in helping to lead San Diego’s fight against cancer, Sinclair said. “Their commitment to the community is inspiring. We have several of the Padres alums who support the effort including Trevor Hoffman, Tony Gwynn Jr., Mark Loretta and Randy Jones. We’ve all been touched by cancer and their advocacy helps spread awareness for this cause.”
“It would be great to see us hopefully have a bigger and bigger impact in the community. San Diego’s a very important place in the life sciences sector and it would be great to see it grow by highlighting events like Padres Pedal the Cause,” Bill Koman added.
HEADQUARTERS: San Diego
NOTABLE: With more than $23 million raised and invested into collaborative cancer research, the philanthropic organization has funded 90+ innovative research projects with six clinical trials currently underway.