The Ladies European Tour lost a Member of its golfing family yesterday with the passing of Cassandra Kirkland at the age of 32, following her two-year fight against cancer.
The 2012 Sanya Ladies Open champion, from France, was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2015, despite never having smoked and having led the lifestyle of a healthy, professional athlete.
She battled the disease courageously and said: “I want to be an example, share my experience with people touched by cancer, in order to help them have a better life and fight to live.”
To help cancer research advance more rapidly, she launched sales of a T-shirt at the 2016 Evian Championship, to raise funds for cancer associations which focus on research, for sale via her website, cassandrakirkland.com.
The slogan, F#@* CANCER, encapsulated her fighting spirit perfectly.
The daughter of an American father and French mother and the niece of the racing driver Eddie Cheever, Cassandra spent four years at the University of Arizona before joining the Ladies European Tour in December 2006.
After three years on tour, she returned to Qualifying School and once again displayed her fighting spirit by winning a five-way play-off to take the final full card available.
Her best year on tour was 2012, when she won the Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club in Hainan, China, before going on to finish 51st on the Order of Merit.
She also went on to win the 2013 Generali Fourqueux Ladies Open on the LET Access Series and the 2014 Coupe de France Pro.
After playing a full season in 2014, Cassandra competed in the 2015 Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco before receiving her cancer diagnosis. She returned to play in the tournament the following year, which was her last competitive appearance on tour, although she also presented the trophy to the winner of the Generali Ladies Tour at the 2015 Lacoste Ladies Open de France, supporting golf with a positive spirit until the end.
Players and fans took to social media to remember a great friend and fellow competitor, who inspired people around the world.