© Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
Quinn Purchase is seen at the Arts and Culture Pool Thursday.
Quinn Purchase wasn’t old enought to remember meeting his grandmother Lucille Bradley before cancer took her life.
However, the promising 15-year-old swimmer with the Corner Brook Rapids admits it’s hard to miss somebody you never met, but he wants to do his part to help other families in future battles with the deadly disease so they may have an opportunity to embrace life with loved ones.
Quinn’s grandmother, who had nine children, died of bone cancer on Oct. 27, 1998, less than three weeks after he was born. It would prove to be a month of mixed emotions as John Bradley — Quinn’s grandpa — died of kidney failure just two days after his arrival in the world.
“She only held him once when we brought him home from the hospital as a newborn,” Maureen Bradley, Quinn’s mom, said earlier this week. “She died with her nine children surrounding her and Quinn downstairs in his baby chair with my husband Murray Purchase.”
Quinn and his Rapids teammates do their part to help beat cancer by participating in the annual Swim for Hope, which is scheduled for March 21 at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Pool. Swim for Hope is a major fundraiser for the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre and swim clubs under Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Dr. H Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation raises funds for the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre in St. John’s with regional programs in St. Anthony, Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander and Labrador City. All contributions to the foundation remain in Newfoundland and Labrador and are used to enhance regional programs close to the patient’s home, develop a patient and family support fund, support treatment programs and services, and purchase state-of-the art cancer treatment equipment.
This special event provides a fun, challenging, competitive community event which involves the swimmers of 12 provincial swim clubs.
Quinn has been swimming on a competive level since Grade 5. He said it provides him with a great avenue for keeping his mind and body fit, while ejoying the challenge of shaving seconds off his time when he hits the pool. He said another important part of competitive simming for him is the comraderie he finds with his teammates.
But, he wants his fellow swimmers to realize the Swim for Hope is all about helping others who may one day come face-to-face with cancer. He is well aware that cancer kills people of all ages and walks of life so swimmers can make a difference with the money they raise.
He can only imagine that it would have been pretty cool to have met his other grandparents.
“It’s like helping the chances for other families to allow that happen,” he said of the hope being shared by the swimming community through the big fundraiser. “I’m here to help ... so I can help keep other families together.”
“I hope they all know they’re doing this to help somebody in need,” he said of his message to his fellow swimmers who will be looking for sponsors over the next week to help the cause.
Pulled up stakes
The family eventually pulled up stakes in Ontario to move to Corner Brook where Quinn’s dad grew up, that move was motivated by the family’s desire to be closer to Murray’s parents in Corner Brook — Harold and Lucille Purchase.
“We really we’re starting to miss them and wanted to be close to them so we could have that relationship so we moved back to Newfoundland so we could be with them,” he said.
Quinn said he doesn’t set a specific limit for his fundraising goal, but shoots for the $100 mark in his door-to-door campaign asking his neighours to throw a few dollars his way in sponsorship. He believes every dollar adds up and looks forward to participating in his fifth Swim for Hope, an event that has been organized on the local front by his mom for four years.
“The money that you’re giving is helping the people in our province,” he said. “It’s not going off anywhere to help in other parts of Canada. It’s going to our hospitals here and helping Newfoundland and everybody around us. Everybody is affected by it.”
Maureen Bradley is willing to do what she can to help the club because she understands the importance of volunteerism and wants to do her part with her son very immersed in the swim club as a competitive athlete. But, she admits the Swim for Hope has become ‘her baby’ for the obvious reasons.
“Given my history I thought it was only fitting,” she said. “I know this has inspired me to help co-ordinate Swim for Hope on a personal level, and I know my mom would be so proud of him participating in this event.”