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We Love James Duncan

$139,120 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 767 people in 12 months
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Created June 1, 2018
Our friend, our colleague, our coach, our teacher, and our mentor, James Duncan suffered a massive stroke on the left side of his brain on May 25th. This part of the brain affects movement on the right side of his body, short term memory, speech, and problem solving.

As you can imagine this has been quite a shock for James’s family. They have had their hands full with medical tests, doctors and insurance. They don't know what the total cost of treatment will be or how long James will be out of work, but early prognosis is at least a year or two including significant physical, speech, swallow, and occupational therapy.

We felt we needed to start something to help alleviate any financial stress so the Duncan family and James’s partner, Colleen Maxwell can focus on treatment and healing. Colleen has been part of James's life since high school, and will continue to be by his side and care for James and his children. The money donated will be used to pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance and to help with daily living expenses.

James has a long road ahead of him, but we know James has the strength, determination, and faith to recover to his fullest extent. Please keep James in your thoughts and prayers and thank you for your support. Your thoughts, prayers, generous donations and resources to help him heal are sincerely appreciated. 
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Thanks again for your continued support and prayers. Alfred recently posted an update on the Caringbridge website.
https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/welovejamesduncan
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(Part 2)
I look back on the first few days, James was still able to use his right side of his body, and even had some language.  That first night, at about 3am, he even said his name, and my hope soared.  This man is the strongest man I know!  They have a code called Mr. Strong when a patient is too powerful for the staff and they call in back up and security.  James did not know what he was doing, he just wanted out!  That’s the James we know, nothing will hold him down, not even 9 people doing their best.  I think that may be my new nickname for him.  There were some funny moments too, and as they were happening, I thought, hmmm, when we are on the other side of this, I sure have some ammunition!  We may have a bit of a warped sense of humor, but one thing what has gotten us through some of life’s toughest moments since we were young is laughter.  I wish I could share, but I know the talking to I would get from James if I did.
 
Last Sunday, 7 days ago, the 27th, the scariest part began. James became incredibly restless and another CT scan was done.  The swelling in his brain was increasing. He was rushed to a different hospital in order to perform surgery that night.  They removed part of his skull in order to allow his brain to swell.  We were told it was very aggressive, but due to his age, it was his best option.  Really, his only option.  They can replace his skull in 3 to 6 months.   We spent 4 nights in Redwood City ICU.  After his surgery, James was unable to move his right side of his body, and would not respond to us.  We had to keep him on life support for a day and sedated for several days due to his confusion and agitation.  I tell you, even with use of only his left side, James has the strength of 10 men!  We had to keep him restrained and sedated.  During all of this, we did see glimpses of the James we know.  We still had hope.  
 
His family is such a source of faith, hope and strength.  They have never faltered in their belief that he would recover.  His brother and sister in law, Alfred and Michelle, sister, Anne, and nieces and nephews have made camp at the hospital.  I have known them all since I was 17, but have a whole new appreciation, and love for them.  I am eternally grateful.  These are just my late night ramblings as James tries to get comfortable next to me for the night, and I don’t think I’m doing them justice.  Their love for this man is inspiring.  
 
Fast forward to this past Friday, June 1st.  I knew the GoFundMe site was going up, and I struggled with putting in on social media due to how James feels about privacy.  It had also been a week since I found James that morning in our home.  I woke up a mess.  I hate being at home without him.  That is the hardest part of my day.  James and I have both had our share of hard times, but the deep, soul deep, physical ache in your heart of not being able to talk to my best friend and share the hardest experience I have ever gone through was too much.  I was loosing my hope.  Thank you Anne for talking me down that day and helping me breath again.  Something happened though.  As more and more people were finding out what was going on, James was having a better and better day!  By the end of the day, he was having moments where he was alert and we knew he could understand us.  He was beginning to try and communicate during those moments and was able to remain calm longer.  I was frustrated with a nurse due to a mistake and we had some words.  When she walked out, James gave me one of his classic looks, like oooh girl, what are you getting into now.  Lol! By midday Friday, my hope was beginning to return and by the end it was soaring.  
 
I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that you all made that happen.  It was almost like the more people who found out, the more he healed.  The outpouring of love is beyond my comprehension.  I have never seen love and prayer physically heal until now.  We will be forever grateful for all of the generous donations, and it will allow us to get the best possible care for James.  I still have no words for what has happened, nor realized how many people love James like we do.  However, I am forever changed, and am closer to my God, because of the miracle I started to see that day.
 
Today, I saw God’s power heal my man because of all the love flowing to him.  It was a day of miracles.  James was able to come off the IV sedation, and did not try to escape.  In fact, before he went to bed, he was able to lose all restraints!  He cooperated with the nurses, and followed commands!  He talked to us, made jokes and laughed!!!  He pulled me close and hugged me 3 times!   He also told me off a couple times, but that is all a miracle!  He pulled me close, and I was able to understand him as he said, “Listen, I am OK.  I will be OK.  When can I go home?” He is back.  James is coming back to us.  It will be a long road ahead of more tests, rehab centers, outpatient visits, and learning the new normal for all of us.  However, I have complete and utter faith, he will recover to the best of his abilities.  I’m pulling for close to 100%, and knowing James, his mental and physical strength, his determination, along with your continued prayers and love, while giving it to God, we can get there.  
 
I know this is long, forgive my ramblings.  I just wanted you to know the beginning of the story of a beautiful journey.  In my experience, the middle of the storm is chaotic and throws you every which way.  However, once we get to the other side, the peace and joy for life is increased exponentially.  The closeness to each other and God will change us all.  I am looking forward to the day we are walking in that joy with James.  I am already starting to feel the joy and blessings.  I still have my love, we still have him and nothing else matters.
 
Going home now to sleep..not going to reread.  Talk soon.  
 
Love to you all,
 
Colleen
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The prayers, positive thoughts, and support are working! Thanks for everything!

Here is an update (Part1) from Colleen:

Hi.
 
This is Colleen.  Please bare with me as I have never written a blog or shared with so many people.  I am more  physically and emotionally exhausted than I have ever been, but also filled with amazing hope for James future and our life as a family.  The prayers, love, and positive energy that you have sent to James has created a miracle for us today.  Where to begin...
 
Day 10. James asked me today (he was talking!!), what day it was.  I had to actually count, and was shocked.  This has been the longest and also the fasted 10 days of my life filled with extreme lows, and incredible highs.  
 
10 days ago, Friday, May 25th, I tried to wake James in the morning, he could not focus his eyes on me or respond to my questions.  I called 911 immediately. I have actually called the paramedics several times due to care taking for my mom, but this was different.  The panic was overwhelming. My gut was saying a stroke and when I arrived in the ER after the paramedics, James was already having a CT Scan and MRI.  However, the ER doctor was sure there had to be another reason because healthy 43 year old men do not have strokes.  When the news came back that he had suffered a massive stroke, it felt like my world fell apart.  I truly don’t know what I would have done without the nurses that day.  Those women held me up, and cared for my man like he was their family.  I will always cherish them for this gift.  I was told that we were too late for early intervention as he most likely had the stroke in the middle of the night and missed the 4.5 hour window.  We were told the only care they could provide was stroke care, which initially meant an aspirin a day.  It was devastating.  
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It is so evident that James has impacted the lives of so many. Thank you all so much for your generosity. His family remains hopeful and positive and they appreciate the support and prayers they have received. Please continue to share this link and keep praying for James and his family. Below is an update from Colleen:

Good morning. James got a little wild this morning so they upped his IV sedation to 1.4 again and now he is at .2 and they will see how he does. He has had a sitter most of the night to watch that he doesn't hit his head. Last night, he was pretty alert and definitely knows who we are and is able to communicate a bit. He has moments that are all James and have made me smile. I feel the outpouring of love is healing him. I feel so positive today that we will get through this and it will be so good on the other side.
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$139,120 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 767 people in 12 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created June 1, 2018
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