Mom with Metastatic Breast Cancer Raises Money for Cancer Research by Walking in Miles for Moffitt Presented by AutoNation

November 12, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — Fitness has been a part of Jessica Purcell’s life for as long as she can remember. She jumped out of airplanes in the Army, ran muddy obstacle races and even took part in a relay race that spanned more than 500 miles across several states, but bone and joint pain from cancer treatment left her struggling for strength to do anything strenuous.

“Cancer is such a curse and a blessing at the same time,” Purcell said. “I feel like I was given such a gift of perspective. Until you walk a mile in my shoes you will never understand. It hits you on a whole new level. Your own body is failing you.”

Doctors diagnosed Purcell with breast cancer when she was nine weeks pregnant with her second child. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy at Moffitt Cancer Center before giving birth to a healthy baby boy. Shortly after finishing radiation treatment, Purcell learned the cancer had spread to her liver.

As Purcell undergoes more rounds of treatment, she is preparing to walk in Miles for Moffitt, her first fitness event since her diagnosis last year. “I honestly thought about my previous self before cancer,” Purcell explained when she learned about the event. “This is something I would have participated in. It’s important to me to raise money for cancer research to support cancer patients like me.”

Miles for Moffitt, a community event with a 10K, 5K, 1K, kid’s fun run, virtual run and wheelchair race, is being held Nov. 23 at Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa. All of the proceeds from the race go directly to lifesaving research at the cancer center. 

Over the past 13 years, Miles for Moffitt has raised more than $5 million, funded 56 pilot research studies and gained more than $18 million in additional federal support, all set into motion by our participants, sponsors and donors.

Purcell created the team Jess’ Team Purple and is walking in the 1K, a far shorter distance than what she would have done before being diagnosed with cancer. She has a long road ahead of her but hopes each step she takes on the road to recovery helps inspire others and drives new advancements in the fight against cancer.

For registration and more information, visit

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 6,500 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit, and follow the momentum on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube