Our 2022 Hope Hero Honoree Award recognizes three close girlfriends, Stacy Matseas Racette, Lyn Hall, and Fiona Mackin-Jha. Each has generously contributed to the American Cancer Society (ACS) for over 20 years through their partnership in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and our renowned Research Program. Through their collaboration and collective investments with family and friends, they have sponsored four American Cancer Society research grants. Stacy, Lyn, and Fiona’s husband, Sanjay, worked together at Qualcomm, and this is where they first developed their lifelong friendship. For nearly 20 years now Fiona, Lyn, Stacy, and a fourth girlfriend, Kristin, have had annual “Girls’ Trips” to locations all over North America. They cherish their memories together, and receiving this award as a team, celebrating their shared mission of ending cancer as we know it, is a big one for their memory books!
Fiona Mackin-Jha was born and raised in Ireland. She has lived in San Diego with her husband, Sanjay, since they immigrated in 1991. Fiona’s introduction to philanthropy came at an early age when her mother, who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, organized an MS chapter in their town. Her childhood experiences instilled in her a concern for others’ well-being that led to a social work career where for many years she worked with abused and neglected children in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and the US.
Fiona first began contributing to the American Cancer Society over 20 years ago, through the fundraising efforts of her good friend, Stacy, and her leadership role in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer movement. Being a two-time breast cancer survivor herself, the cause is dear to her heart. She proudly manages the Rodeki Foundation which she and Sanjay started in 2012 and has enjoyed the philanthropic work that the Foundation supports which includes Salk Institute for Biological Studies, UC San Diego Health, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Home Start (child abuse prevention agency), serving on the Board and other volunteer committees.
Lyn Hall initially learned about the value of giving from her mother, whom she accompanied as a child to collect money to support the American Heart Association. Her grandfather died of a heart attack and that cause was very important to her mother, so every year on “Heart Sunday” she would walk the neighborhood collecting dimes, quarters, and even dollars! Her mother continued to volunteer in many ways and Lyn credits her inspiration to her mother’s charitable heart.
Lyn joined Stacy on their first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in 2000. As a Qualcomm employee at the time, she walked with their team each year and is proud to consistently reach “Pacesetter” status and be one of the top ten annual San Diego fundraisers. Sadly, Lyn lost both her sister and sister-in-law to cancer in 2021, glioblastoma and ovarian cancers, respectively. These personal tragedies have reinforced her efforts to fund research in pursuit of a cure for these diseases.
Upon retiring from Qualcomm in 2016, Lyn volunteered for many years at Solutions for Change, an organization supporting homeless families, San Diego Food Bank, and Kitchens for Good. As a longtime member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation, their pooled funds support various charities within San Diego County annually. Lyn has been a volunteer usher for The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse for 20+ years and most recently started volunteering at The Rady Shell. Experiencing live theater and music is a “must” for her.
Stacy Matseas Racette began volunteering and supporting the American Cancer Society 22 years ago, to take action after her childhood friend Victoria’s breast cancer diagnosis. Stacy has shared her time, talent and treasure with ACS in many ways, resulting in nearly $3 MILLION raised and counting! She is a top national fundraiser for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (many years, she was #1 in the nation!), the lead investor and convener for the San Diego Pay-If Research Donor Collaborative, and a Road to Recovery Volunteer Driver. Stacy is well known as a hugger and is often described as a “Force of Nature” in the fight against cancer. Her motto is “Failure is NOT an Option,” and she means business!
As philanthropists, Stacy and her husband, Mike, support a number of valued causes including the National MS Society, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and Home Start. Stacy’s volunteer efforts extend past ACS to other organizations such as Place of Promise, a Christ-centered residential program helping individuals rebuild broken lives; Women’s Money Matters, helping low-income women gain financial knowledge and empowerment; and ACS Partner, American Red Cross, giving and helping collect blood donations (nearly 25% of the blood supply is utilized for cancer patients). In addition to philanthropy, Stacy enjoys spending lots of quality time with family and friends and sharing as many hugs as possible.