It was five years ago this month that PGA Tour Pro/Dallas’ own Jordan Spieth met an adorable Tatum Teague. It was love at first sight. But don’t get the wrong idea. Jordan’s high school sweetheart Annie Verret was there, too. The meeting took place at Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ Center for Cancer Disorders Day Hospital, where six-year-old Tatum was on the road to recovery from a very tough battle with leukemia.
Jordan’s and Annie’s being there was due to a gift for kids like Tatum. It was the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation’s (JSFF) “largest single gift to Children’s Medical Center to benefit two specific programs at Children’s Health Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.”
While the Foundation had previously been based on just three “pillars” of focus — special-needs youth, junior golf and military families — the occasion was also the announcement that a fourth pillar had been added to support children battling cancer.
One of the reasons for this addition was Eric Leyendecker, who was also on hand that day. In addition to being Jordan’s lifelong friend, Eric himself had battled cancer over the years.
As Jordan put it then, “I have personally lost a friend to it. Recently watching my best friend as he went through treatments inspired us to make this an official pillar of the Foundation.”
Fast-forward five years to today: Tatum is a gorgeous, outgoing redhead who loves her best friend Ryder, the chocolate Lab. When Eric married Katie this past April, he recruited Jordan to be a groomsman. As for Jordan and Annie, they got married in 2020 and had baby Sammy last year.
And on Tuesday, Jordan and Annie continued their commitment to help children battling cancer by donating $500,000 for the family support lounge that will be located in Children’s Medical Center Plano’s Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, whose expansion is due for completion in late 2024. Tuesday’s is the “largest donation granted to any organization by JSFF.”
According to Annie, “Our goal with this gift is to provide thousands of families in North Texas who are facing a diagnosis closer access to the life-saving care of Children’s Medical Center. If we can be a small part of expanding access to treatment and, in turn, give quality time back to these families, then we hopefully contribute toward their healing journey. Jordan and I are very grateful to the incredible oncology staff at Children’s for their life-saving work.”
To honor the Spieths’ generosity, the new space — it includes a comfortable lounge area and an enclosed kitchenette designed for families to gather in a calm and welcoming environment with a view of the expanded Plano campus — will be named the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation Lounge.
As Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher put it, “Jordan and Annie Spieth have been longtime supporters of the Children’s Health mission, which they understand deeply. This commitment to help kids battling cancer is at the heart of what it means to make life better for children.”
* Graphic/photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation