This fundraiser has been started with a heavy heart as we prepare to lay to rest a precious son, brother, uncle and friend.
The McLemore family need your support as they struggle to find peace at this very difficult time. As many of you know, funeral expenses are often a burden on family, especially with an unexpected loss of a loved one.
As a friend of the McLemore family, I ask that you take a moment to say a prayer for their comfort as they come together to lay James to rest,
Donate any amount you are able to help them with funeral expenses as they are dealing with the additional cost of having James returned to Panama City from south Florida.
Lastly, share this fundraiser and the story below about James. We all have our own struggles. We all have things we would rather not discuss, but we hope that this brief look into the heart and life of James McLemore will etch away at taboo subjects that need to be shared, accepted and embraced as a way to help and heal others struggling, just as James would have wanted.
James McLemore lived his life wide open. Always shining a joyful light with his smile and encouragement to his family and friends.
James was a personal trainer, body builder and health enthuiest with a vision to make a difference and help people. He wanted more than anything to bring out the best in everyone.
Unfortunately, like many people, his outward enthusiasm, successfully hid a struggle within. As much as he loved life, the demons he fought daily took an overwhelming grasp on his own life. Though he was strong and fit and filled with the knowledge and determination of fitness and health, drug addiction found its way into his life.
James struggled with addiction but fought to escape with everything he had. As he offered encouragement and warnings of the destruction addiction causes on his Facebook page, he took the steps he felt he needed to take in order to find help and be loosed from addiction.
He checked himself into a drug rehabilitation facility in South Florida, he spent all he had reaching for help and finding spiritual strength to beat this demon. Through prayer and spiritual growth, James completed the treatment at the facility that was supposed to help him with finding his way out of the grasp of an unfortunate nationwide, and certainly statewide epidemic of drug addiction.
The unexplainable truth is, the facility James chose, did little more than give him a place to stay, at a cost. A cost that was to be more than anyone would have imagined. Less than 24 hours after James left the facility, completing the required rehabilitation, and moving into a sober home to continue his journey, he was found kneeling at the side of his bed, as if in prayer, succumbed to an apparent drug overdose.
No one knows what truly happened in those 18 hours after James left the rehab facility, his outward appearance shown with confidence and his unforgettable smile. What is known is that his struggle with addiction appears to have won this battle as so many others continue to fight this battle.
I think if there is one lesson James would like to leave with people, it would be that we never know what someone is struggling with, inside and behind their cheerful, supportive smile. Love your family and friends and remind them that you are there for them, even for the things they do not have the strength or confidence to share with you. Silence is okay, as long as you remain together through the silence. Remind your loved ones you care and that your love is unconditional. Support them through their triumphs and hold them up through their mistakes. Most of all don't pretend that nothing is wrong, face it, accept it and help each other fight the battles you may not even be able to see.
We love you James.
Your friends at Longleaf.