Jessica Purcell is not one to shy away from tough situations. She spent time jumping out of airplanes in the Army, was deployed to Afghanistan and even helped save a man who fell off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, but her biggest battle has been fighting breast cancer.

Doctors diagnosed Purcell with breast cancer about a year ago when she was nine weeks pregnant with her second child. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy before giving birth to a healthy baby boy. Yet, her fight was far from over. After receiving radiation treatment, Purcell learned the cancer spread to her liver, requiring more treatment and procedures.

Purcell says she is up for the challenge. “My body’s been pushed to the limits in the military,” Purcell explained. “I’m on this earth to be in the military and to be a mom.”

Purcell and her immediate family have more than 100 years of combined military experience and they will be Moffitt’s guests of honor at the cancer center’s fourth annual Veterans Day celebration. “I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Army,” Purcell said. “That’s where I come from. It’s in my blood.”

Moffitt will present Purcell with a plaque recognizing her for her service to our country.

The Veterans Day tribute also includes a special patriotic performance by the Moffitt choir with MacDill Honors Guard presenting the colors and raising the flag. Moffitt Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jack Kolosky is the master of ceremonies for the event.

Media Opportunity

WHAT: Moffitt honors military mother with metastatic breast cancer during Veterans Day flag raising ceremony

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 11, 8:30-9 a.m.

WHERE: Red Valet flagpole at Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 USF Magnolia Drive


Watch video from last year’s ceremony.

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.