Inside Atlanta PR

Posted January 23, 2012 by Chris

Jacksons & Spaldings partners in more ways than one

When Bo Spalding looked up at the doorway of his wife Melissa’s Piedmont Hospital room last week, he saw the smiling face of his business partner’s wife, Claire Jackson. In a remarkable twist of fate, the spouses of the longtime PR firm partners were each undergoing breast cancer surgery on successive days in the same hospital. The same doctors performed surgeries, which lasted nearly five hours each. Not only that, Claire and Melissa each underwent similar, though less invasive cancer surgery together 12 years ago.

When Glen Jackson and Bo left Manning, Selvage & Lee in 1995 with five other PR professionals to start their own firm, they knew they would be going through a lot together as business partners. Weathering up and down markets, the pair has seen their firm experience mostly ups. Jackson Spalding has grown to Atlanta’s largest local independent firm and one of the largest in the Southeast now with more than 80 full-time professionals, including their Dallas, TX and Athens, GA offices.

Bo Spalding, left, and Glen Jackson

Little did they know their families would be going through such a close encounter with cancer together. On Friday of last week, Claire wandered into Melissa’s room and told her, “24 hours ago I felt like you do now. I feel so much better now, so know that you will too.” In an email to more than 50 friends and family members, Bo said Claire’s visit was extremely encouraging to Melissa, who at that point was experiencing a lot of pain.

“Melissa had breast cancer 12 years ago, but the doctors didn’t get it all, so she had another surgery. She underwent chemo, got that behind her and faithfully went back annually for mammograms.” Bo said. “That’s a good thing, because a mammogram in December showed a tumor on the other side.”

“Melissa’s surgery has an even higher degree of concern since she was diagnosed with cancer for a second time,” Glen said Saturday. “Claire elected to have the surgery Wednesday after battling cancer 12 years ago to reduce the risks of it returning.

“It is ironic that Bo and I were together at Piedmont, but it was great to support one another,” Glen said.

Glen, of course, was the founder and guiding light of the Atlanta PR Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, held annually on the Thursday before Thanksgiving for four years. Due to a number of factors, the breakfast was not held in 2011. That morning of prayer will not be lost on the PR community, who are offering up countless prayers this week for a speedy recovery for Claire and Melissa.

Chris Schroder

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