When Jim was just 3 years old, he contracted a virus that attacked his young brain. The doctors told us there was a high likelihood he would not survive and that if he did, he would never walk or talk again. But, thankfully, after 3 weeks comatose and twice flatlining, Jim came back to us and slowly regained his ability to walk and say simple phrases. Yet the virus caused severe swelling in his brain and left him with several developmental disabilities, including autism and epilepsy, and his life has never been the same. He suffered seizures and other complications weekly, and spent as much of his young childhood in the hospital as out of it. He would never read or write, go off to college, or get married, but his story is still one of success: he is still alive even though the doctors didn't believe he would live into his teenage years.
But just when we thought he had overcome the worst, we were hit with more devastating news: Jim had cancer. A rare type called synovial sarcoma, which showed up in a tumor on his foot. We faced the difficult decision of amputating his leg; a decision made all the more challenging because Jim could not make it himself"”he was unable to comprehend what was happening and dependent on us to make the best decision for him. This crushed us because, what Jim lacked mentally he compensated for physically: he loved to run, jump, and play and had exceptional athletic abilities. And that was taken away.
It broke my heart to see him crippled by cancer in addition to the cognitive limitations he had suffered for so long. But not as much as it broke my heart when we were told a few weeks ago that the cancer was back, this time in his lungs. Not as much as it broke my heart to be told that most people at this stage only survive 6 months to a year. Nothing can prepare you for that.
Jim has defied the odds before and we want to do everything we can to help him beat the odds again. We want to give Jim every opportunity to continue to live, and to make sure he has fulfilling, life-giving experiences while he's alive. He's a trooper, but every star player needs assists. I hope that you will join me in helping him move from cancer victim to cancer survivor. We are open to any type of support, including direct financial gifts, in-kind gifts, connecting us to your networks, and putting your creativity to work devising and implementing other fundraising opportunities. My brother, my family, and I would be forever grateful.
My brother is my heart. I will do everything I can to help him live the best and longest life he possibly can. I thank you in advance for joining me in this fight.
Sincerely, Jim's sister,
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