Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do
James Daniel Fowkes was known primarily as Jimmy, but also as James, Jimbo, Jim and “The Boy” or “TB” in text speak between his parents. In his 21 years, he touched and inspired hundreds of people as he bravely fought the brain cancer that ultimately took his life in 2014.
As a cancer fighter and advocate, Jimmy, with help from his younger sister Molly, raised over $250,000 for the LIVESTRONG Foundation. He also volunteered and fundraised for Children’s Cancer Association in Portland, Oregon.
In eight years of fighting brain cancer, Jimmy’s determination never waivered. He never complained about his situation nor asked the obvious question – “why me?”. Instead, he focused all of his energy on living. When the first pediatric oncologist told us in 2006 that Jimmy wouldn’t finished high school, much less go to college, we found another oncologist. Four years later, despite a recurrence of his cancer, six weeks of cranio-spinal radiation and fourteen rounds of intense chemotherapy, Jimmy matriculated at Stanford University.
Jimmy understood the value of time. He made sure we never missed an opportunity to travel or do something amazing. From trips to the Tour de France, Iceland, Alaska, New Zealand and other exotic places to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Super Bowl, the College World Series, the Rose Bowl, and too many Stanford football games, concerts and San Francisco Giants’ games to count, Jimmy taught us that the answer was always a resounding “Yes!”.
Jimmy used to say that he was a Type B personality in a Type A family. He loved Snapple facts, penguins, the Portland Trailblazers, Bob Marley, The Big Lebowski, LIVESTRONG, Stanford sports, studying world religions, Lance Armstrong, Gage Dole, his friends and most of all his family. He was bananaphobic, a fact he proudly disclosed on his Stanford application. In his too short 21 years, Jimmy lived a big, rich, full life. His beloved oncologist, Dr. Nicholson, used to say that Jimmy was a data set of one because there was no medical explanation for why he lived as long as he did. Jimmy embraced life, and he never let his cancer define him. He was living until he drew his last breath. We will never get over our loss but we are also the lucky ones because Jimmy lived, and we knew and loved him.
We invite you to become part of our community. Share your story, ask a question, make a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
Never miss an article! Subscribe here to be notified whenever new content is posted to Salt Water.