By Jenna Goff
When a friend of Tom Purcell’s was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, she quickly turned to TurningPoint, a breast cancer rehabilitation clinic that provides therapy for women battling the disease.
“My wife and I spent hundreds of hours driving our friend to various doctor’s appointments, but TurningPoint stood out,” Purcell said. “The emotional and physical support provided was great, and the impact it had was remarkable.”
TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation was founded in 2003. The nonprofit’s mission is to “improve quality of life for women with breast cancer by providing, promoting and advocating specialized and evidence-based rehabilitation,” said Jill Binkley, the executive director.
The Sandy Springs clinic offers services such as physical therapy, exercise, massage therapy, counseling, nutritional counseling and education programs. It aims to meet the unrecognized and often unfulfilled needs of women with breast cancer.
But this wide array of services was not all that appealed to Purcell. “The staff’s passion blew me away,” he said.
When his friend passed away after a four-year struggle, Purcell’s involvement with TurningPoint didn’t end. He has supported the center financially and volunteered extensively. And about three years ago, there came an opportunity that especially spoke to him.
“There was a wish to expand the message of TurningPoint,” Purcell said. “Along with my company [Ashford Advisors], we set up ‘Tourney for TurningPoint.’”
Tourney for TurningPoint is a golf tournament benefitting the 300-plus women TurningPoint serves each year. “The tournament is one of two major annual fundraisers,” said Purcell.
Erin Long, a member of the TurningPoint staff involved in the tournament, said the proceeds “benefit [TurningPoint’s] financial assistance program for uninsured and underinsured women, as well as the complimentary education and exercise programs.”
The programs offer relief and support to women at all stages of breast cancer. TurningPoint also affects healthcare providers and the community. “The large outreach and education program aims to increase awareness about breast cancer survivorship issues, and the role of physical and emotional rehabilitation during and after treatment,” Binkley said.
In this sense, Tourney for TurningPoint is just as much an education event as it is a fundraising one. It brings TurningPoint’s mission to a different crowd.
“Most men are not impacted until their wife, mother or daughter is diagnosed,” Purcell said. “The tournament opens up the message to people who might not be affected otherwise.”
This year brings the fourth annual tournament. The event begins at the Dunwoody Country Club Aug. 24 with a “Swing Fling” dinner and auction, which Long said about 200 people usually attend. The dinner is followed by the golf outing on Aug. 25 for about 120 golfers, Long said.
Purcell and his company, Ashford Advisors, have been heavily involved every year as the presenting sponsor of Tourney for TurningPoint. “He is a dedicated volunteer, and leverages his commitment by engaging others in the work that we do,” Binkley said.
Purcell remains grateful for TurningPoint. “TurningPoint was everything for my friend,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be involved.”