‘Team Pendy’ Tackles Golf, Cancer

EAST LANSING – When Ella and Lily Pendy compete in golf tournaments, it is not unusual to find their mother, Megan Pendy, caddying. So the fact that Megan is on the bag for Ella at this week’s 97th Michigan Women’s Amateur at Walnut Hills Country Club is not out of the ordinary; the fact that she completed chemotherapy just four weeks ago is what makes her appearance at this tournament special.“I think it was at Christmas and we were all together and I told the girls that Megan had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” said John Pendy, who is on the bag for Lily this week. “Everyone handled it well, then Ella got emotional and the waterworks started. Since then we have approached everything as ‘Team Pendy.’ It is not just about golf anymore.”Megan says she feels really good. Fighting cancer has motivated her to rethink her priorities and to take and aggressive approach to maintaining her health. She started running this spring and has the goal of competing in a half marathon in the future. She is paying more attention to nutrition and exploring different activities that will help her maintain her good health. “I have my goals for being healthy and for fighting cancer and I think that has helped me be more supportive to Ella and Lily with their goals,” said Megan. “And it has just put everything in perspective. If one of them hits a bad golf shot it is just a bad golf shot. It’s not a matter of life or death.”Throughout her treatment, Megan had good days and bad days. She had a goal of caddying at this week’s tournament but because of her treatment schedule she missed some of her daughters’ spring competitions. But text messages from Ella, who plays for University of Michigan, and Lily, who is at Grosse Pointe South High School, made Megan feel like she was walking the fairways with them.“We would be at our tournaments and mom would be getting her chemo treatment and we would text her and tell her that we were Team Pendy and all of us were going to fight hard and be successful today,” said Lily. Megan believes golf was essential in her recovery because it gave her something positive on which to focus. “I think it was good because she was busy going on golf web sites instead of cancer web sites,” said John. “It helped her to have a positive attitude about her recovery.”Helping Megan go through treatment for breast cancer has changed Ella and Lily’s approach to golf too. It is not just about competition and having the lowest score or the best drive or the longest putt. For the Pendys, golf is now much more about seizing the day and enjoying the moment. It has become a symbol for living each day to the fullest. “I know now that there is just so much more to life,” said Ella. “I think that now we both go out there and just try to have a great attitude. We try to be good playing partners. Now when we play it is for a reason; it is for our mom.”Even on a day like Monday’s first round of stroke play that started an hour late because of rain and had players competing in everything from a steady drizzle to a major downpour, the Pendys are thankful to be on out on the links.“When we play now, we are just so much more appreciative that we are able to be able to play golf,” said Lily. “Now we think about the people who are sick or going through cancer treatment like my mom and are not able to play. It could be the worst weather or we could be having the worst round and it just doesn’t matter.”On the first day of competition at the Women’s Am, Lily is sporting pink shoelaces and hair ribbon with the symbol for breast cancer survival along with pink checkered shorts. Ella dons a pink golf skirt and John has on a bright pink shirt. Although Megan is not wearing pink, she proudly points to soft wisps of hair peeking from beneath her teal head scarf. “Cancer is both the best and worst thing that happened to me,” said Megan. “It really makes you not take things for granted. It has made me take better care of myself. Now when I run, I’m running for my life. I’ve been able to set goals for myself in terms of recovery and I’ve been able to be more supportive of Ella and Lily with their goals too.”