Nancy McDaniel found herself back in a hospital bed in July, battling cancer for a second time, and realized that she needed to get moving again. It started with a short walk down the hall.
“Anybody who would come visit, I would say, you have to walk me,” said McDaniel, the longtime Cal women’s golf coach, with a laugh.
At home, friends would come in the morning, at noon and at 5 o’clock to walk with her to the end of the street, and eventually, around the block. The walking helped her physically, but the connection meant everything.
That healing connection has been magnified throughout the country in the form of a fundraiser organized by one of McDaniel’s former players and current head coach at Stanford, Anne Walker.
So far, the Play For Her campaign, tied to this week’s Stanford Intercollegiate, has raised more than $150,000 toward breast cancer research. One of the longest-running tournaments in college golf, the Oct. 20-22 event is hosted by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who lost her own mother, Angelena, to breast cancer in 1985.
McDaniel cried when Walker called to ask if they could dedicate this year’s event to her. Funds will go directly to McDaniel’s oncologist, Dr. Hope Rugo, and her research at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We have 120 women in the field,” said Walker. “Statistically, one in eight women get diagnosed in their lifetime. You do the quick math on that … 15 kids in the field are going to battle breast cancer in their lifetime. So if we can educate them and make them more aware, maybe of those 15, a couple more will have better outcomes because they’ve had earlier intervention.”
First diagnosed with breast cancer 2015, McDaniel was high-fiving with her doctor last June about being cancer-free. Weeks later, she found out the cancer had returned in her stomach.
McDaniel, a 56-year-old mother of two, started chemotherapy again in August and took a leave of absence from coaching. She’s scheduled to return to work on Nov. 1.
Associate coach Beverly Terry has taken over the reins in the meantime, with Katie Mitchell helping onsite at tournaments. Husband Jay, head professional at Claremont Country Club, helps out as a volunteer assistant, in addition to anchoring her support system.
“(Bev) is just a poster coach for…