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She’s fighting stage 4 breast cancer, and dealing with grief

September 9, 2018

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Brooke Turner and husband Justin Turner had been married for 13 years and had three children.

On the night of Aug. 23, they prayed with their young son. Brooke Turner, who is battling stage 4 breast cancer, took a photo of the three of them and posted it on Facebook.

Two days after that prayer, Justin Turner was struck by a car while on a bicycle and died.

“I had no idea how much the photo would mean,” Turner said in that Facebook post above the photo. “It’s the hope of Christ that we have clung to as a family and we will continue to cling to.”

People across South Carolina and beyond are looking for ways they can help save Brooke Turner’s life. Many have reached out with donations on a GoFundMe page created for the Turner family.

The page was created Aug. 26 with a goal of $200,000 to help Brooke Turner, of Columbia, care for the couple’s three children and to support her treatment for cancer. By Sunday, roughly $170,000 had been raised.

Family friend Courtney Holland Tipping, a native of Fountain Inn, created the page.

“It’s been shocking to see people from all over the world give,” Tipping said. “It’s such a tangible thing for me to see the Lord really taking care of them.”

A celebration of life service was held Wednesday to honor Justin Turner, who grew up in Gaffney.

It’s been difficult, Tipping said, to witness a “double tragedy” unfold in the life of her friend Brooke Turner.

“No one expected her husband to die tragically and then (her) health to just to be so questionable,” she said. “The least we can do is come around her and the kids and do whatever it takes to take care of them.”

Brooke Turner is the director of Women’s Ministries at Northeast Presbyterian Church. She and Tipping got to know each other during Bible study sessions several years ago.

“Our kids are pretty close in age,” Tipping said. “Seasons of life brought us together as far as a growing friendship.”

Tipping and her husband, Allen, began to do more as couple with and the Turners over the last year and a half. Allen Tipping and Justin Turner were both avid cyclists and it became a common conversation between the two men, she said.

When Tipping’s daughter, who turns 8 this month, was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, Brooke Turner “walked alongside me,” she said.

The following year, Turner was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, the two have supported each other.

In late 2017, Turner’s cancer relapsed, Tipping said. Most of her treatment has been done in Columbia but her main oncologist is a doctor in Houston, Texas, she said.

When the cancer relapsed, a “different road of treatment,” was started and the cancer was no longer talked about in “curative manner,” Tipping said.

Turner began treatment in January with a chemo pill. Scans done in July showed spots were continuing to grow on her sternum and lung, Tipping said.

She returns to Houston in October for more scans.

“She’s definitely still very much kind of in a limbo in between scans and what even treatment is able to do, but she’s gone through most every type of medicine that they can really do for her,” Tipping said. “That’s why they’ve called this stage 4 cancer.”

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Justin Turner had worked at PepsiCo for 18 years when he died.

He was dedicated to his job, but his dedication first and foremost was to the Lord and then his family, Tipping said. He took care of his wife when she was too weak to care for herself.

“That’s one of the things we’ve heard Brooke say over and over again these last few days, just how much he sacrificed,” Tipping said.

Justin Turner loved to bike, but if he was training for something, he would get up at 4 a.m. to get it done before the children were up and his wife needed him, Tipping said.

He almost always went into work with the intention of leaving right away if Brooke needed him, Tipping said. She could text him and tell him she’s not feeling well and his response would be, “I’m on my way.”

Instead of missing her chemo treatments, he’d take his computer to the sessions with him. As she was getting chemo, he’d sit in a chair beside her and work.

He was “a rock for her in every way and very hands-on with the kids,” Tipping said.

He’d take his two daughters and son in the backyard to play soccer at times or take them bike riding with him.

He was biking alone on Aug. 25.

He was traveling on Hardscrabble Road in Richland County at 11:38 a.m. when a driver failed to yield to the right away, a spokesman for the state Highway Patrol said. A driver of a BMW, swerving to get out of the other car’s way, struck Turner, the trooper said.

The motorist who caused the accident fled the scene. The Highway Patrol is still seeking that motorist.

They are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 1-800-768-150.

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Information from: The Greenville News, http://www.greenvillenews.com

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