Join us in welcoming John Burke to the Project Purple family. As our new Controller, he brings many years of experience in both accounting and running to the team. John had a career in public accounting which took him to Seattle and eventually to Arizona. When family brought him back to the East Coast, he learned he enjoys using his financial expertise in an environment where he can help those in need. Now, John will be overseeing all financial matters for Project Purple as the charity continues to grow and expand.
During his youth, John was a multi-sport athlete who played football, basketball and baseball. As an adult working in the field of public accounting, he soon found the long hours sitting in a chair were taking a toll on his health and physical fitness. “I was sitting all day and gained weight,” John recalls. “I was in a picture with someone I thought looked unhealthy and realized I looked pretty much the same.”
John Gets His Start in Running
The realization that he did not look and feel at his best is what prompted John to start running. He completed his first marathon, the New York City Marathon, in 2003. Though he had an Achilles injury at the time, he fell in love with the marathon distance and the whole race experience.
When he lived in Arizona, John could walk out of his house and immediately run on a trail. He started training with a group of long distance runners on these local trails. During those years, he ran a series of races, including the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and the San Francisco Marathon. Eventually he completed his first ultramarathon. To this day, he enjoys running the trails. “I find trail running easier on the body than road running,” John explains.
John Returns Home
Though John enjoyed living in different areas of the United States, when he learned his father had cancer, he knew he needed to move back east to be with his family. As John watched his father battle cancer that had spread through his body, he turned to running as a coping mechanism. He explains, “I saw how sick my dad was and dealt with it by running.”
Though John once loved the world of public accounting, he longed to try his hand at something new. His return to Connecticut gave him the opportunity to work in a completely different environment, in a controller position. He found meaning in his new environment, explaining, “The business I worked for at Yale had a microscope that was used for early cancer detection. Its purpose was finding cancer cells as early as possible.”
John Joins Project Purple
Now John will be using his accounting skills at Project Purple, in an environment where he can help others. He explains, “I like helping people and I enjoy working with people who are dedicated to finding a cure for an illness that causes so much pain. This is a position where I can help people when they are facing the most difficult time in their lives.”
John likes to keep himself busy. In addition to working as controller for Project Purple, he is also a real estate agent. In his spare time, he enjoys working with wood and stone. In fact, he builds stone walls, a hobby he picked up from his uncle.
In his early weeks with Project Purple, John got to return to the New York City Marathon, this time in support of the Project Purple team. “I had a fantastic experience at the NYCM. It validated everything I thought being a part of Project Purple would be. I loved meeting the families, cheering on runners and being a part of things,” he says.
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