None of it comes naturally to her. Angela Stanford is an introvert by nature and has been for almost all of her 30 years in the game. One of the kindest people in golf, Stanford will sit at a breakfast table alone, content to sip coffee and read her phone amid a sea of other players, caddies and friends. Ask to join her and she will be more than gracious, holding up her end of the social contract with affable aplomb. She also has the dry wit of a wry Texas ranch hand and the temperament of a church deacon. She’ll talk Texas Ranger baseball and Texas Christian University football (her alma mater in her hometown of Fort Worth), but being out front, whether it’s media appearances for her latest role as U.S. Solheim Cup assistant captain or as a go-to veteran with six LPGA Tour wins, is not Stanford’s first instinct. So, when she stands in front of a camera – whether it’s held by a professional crew or she’s filming herself on an iPhone – to discuss and promote the Angela Stanford Foundation, you know it means a great deal to her.
The foundation, which Stanford created in 2009 focuses on helping students of families whose lives have been upended by cancer. By providing scholarship money, Stanford helps lighten a burden from families with a lot on their plates.
“I believe you need a purpose in life and when these kids get hit hard, whether it is themselves or their parents, we like to try to help them keep some purpose,” Stanford said.
That quote has become the mission statement of the Angela Stanford Foundation. But the real mission can be found in the quotes from the students who have been impacted, young people like Cameron Choate from Texas Tech University in Lubbock who said, “Being awarded this scholarship will help me get close to my goal of being an embryologist with significantly less student debt. It is an absolute honor and I hope that I will be a positive example to other young cancer survivors to always let their experiences shape them but not define them. I will always be grateful to the Angela Stanford Foundation for their support and commitment to my education.”
Or Addison Spence at Baylor University, who said, “I am so thankful for this scholarship and the community that comes with it. This community understands what it looks like to walk through a tragic time. Being an Angela Stanford Foundation scholarship recipient shows that I am supported and will have people cheering me on throughout my educational endeavors.”
Stanford, herself, knows how those young people feel. Nan Stanford, Angela’s mom, fought breast cancer. The family battled along with Nan as she went through chemotherapy, radiation and reconstructive surgery. The cancer went away for a while. Then the disease returned in 2018, having migrated into Nan’s bones.
Nan is the retired city manager of Saginaw, Texas, a devout Christian and working-class wife and mom who could not watch as her daughter played her way into contention at the 2018 Evian Championship. Instead, like many mothers would, Nan went to a back room and prayed. When it was over and the flag of the United States had been delivered by a skydiver onto the 18th green at Evian, Stanford looked skyward, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I’ve always believed God has a plan,” Stanford said in the moments after her victory. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t doubted Him, doesn’t mean I haven’t doubted that plan. But deep down I was with Him one way or the other.”
This past March, Stanford ran the Los Angeles Marathon, raising $12,500 for the foundation. And in late September of 2020 she was at Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth for the Let Your Light Shine Charity Golf Tournament, raising money for the foundation in spite of the pandemic.
“This is our 14th year (hosting this event) and the first without LPGA (Tour) pros, so we’re really missing you guys,” Stanford said during the tournament. “But I want to thank everybody for supporting the Angela Stanford Foundation. It really means a lot.”
For those students who are able to go to college because of the foundation, students like Thaddeus Turner who is attending the University of Houston, it means more than a lot. “Words cannot begin to convey how truly thankful I am,” Turner said. “Knowing that there are people willing to invest in my education makes me push that much harder to make a change, not only in my myself but in my community.”
For those young people, it means everything.
The AXA LPGA Volunteer Award program will designate a top volunteer nominee at each of the LPGA’s tournaments. At the conclusion of the 2020 season, the name of one volunteer will be drawn in a random selection. That winning volunteer’s tournament charity will be awarded $10,000 on behalf of AXA.
AXA XL, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. AXA XL proudly serves as the Official Property/Casualty, Reinsurance, Auto and Professional Liability Insurance Sponsor of the LPGA. Additionally AXA XL has partnered with the LPGA on a season-long AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award which recognizes tournament volunteers who have exemplified the spirit of volunteerism and gone above and beyond expectations. For more information, please visit www.axaxl.com