Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area
Each year we at Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area have the pleasure of teaming up with the San Jose Sports Authority as they hand out their REACH Scholarships to athletes who've overcome adversity in their high school careers and continue to excel on the field. We at Cal-Hi have a small part in this event as we get to produce the winning essays into a video story which airs on our show and at the REACH banquet. One scholarship winner caught my attention and I chose to film and produce his story. Please meet Jonathan Purcell.
Bellarmine High School produces many high level athletic teams and their golf team is no different. Jonathan Purcell is the Captain of the Bells' golf team and is swinging the club well this season. Purcell looks like any average high school senior, but he's lucky to be alive right now.
Just before his Sophomore year, the Purcell family were told by doctors that Jonathan had a brain tumor in his Cerebellum. John always had migraines and headaches growing up and after taking an MRI to make sure everything was normal, the bomb was dropped on the Purcells.
Three months later, Jonathan drove up to UCSF for his brain surgery. John laid down on the operating table unsure of what the rest of his life would be like when he woke up. But after an 8 hour surgery, the operation was deemed a success and the long road back to health was ahead.
Over 46 physical therapy appointments, Jonathan first learned how to walk, how to hold a club, then how to putt again one week after walking. Purcell recovered at a rapid pace, something he say golf helped with immensely because of the focus on balance and stability. Jonathan would work up to putting, then to chipping, then to driving, then playing a few holes, then playing a round. Every step of recovery revolved around how he was going to get back on the course.
Now, 2 and a half years later, Jonathan Purcell is a healthy young man. Doctors have told him he's 96-to-98 percent cured, which he'll take. Off to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo next year, Purcell hopes to tee it up for the Mustangs and then if all breaks well, start his journey to the PGA. But no matter where he ends up, Jonathan Purcell will just be happy to be there, and alive, and well.