Jessica Breland grew up in Kelford, North Carolina and attended Bertie High School. She was a three-sport athlete, but recognized primarily for her talents in basketball. In her senior year, she averaged 22 points per game and 12 rebounds and was selected as an All-American. Breland was offered a scholarship to the University of North Carolina for basketball, however in 2009, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system. She underwent chemotherapy and was forced to sit out for the rest of the 2009-2010 season, but did all she could to recover and get back on the basketball court.
In 2011, Breland was selected in the second round of the WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx, but was constantly impacted by the lingering effects of the disease, forcing her to leave the WNBA temporarily. The chemo treatments completely ruined her conditioning and made it very difficult to get back in shape. However, with perseverance and motivation to get back to basketball, she fought hard and eventually worked her way back into the league in 2014.
Once Breland was back on the court and performing as an All-Star for the Indiana Fever, she decided to create a second career by opening her own spa business called “BR3” in Durham, North Carolina. Although it wasn’t easy, her mental and physical strength helped her reach her goals. Breland says, “Experiencing a life-threatening disease like cancer helped me with my strength that I have here to push through. The days that I’m beat up, mentally, physically exhausted, not knowing if I can handle all of this.”
The spa officially opened in 2018 and has hit her intended targets for the first year, while continuing to recruit more employees as it grows. “BR3’s” popularity has spread quickly; even Duke basketball stars Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett have even utilized her treatments to stay fresh on-the-court.
Today, Breland, who is 31 years old, continues to play in the WNBA for the Atlanta Dream and is cancer-free nearly 10 years after the disease went into remission. She spends her time during the off-season working on her spa and looking to make the business grow exponentially each year.