Condition / Challenge:

Cerebral Palsy

Celebrated For:

James was born three months early in Houston, TX in 1998. The first three months of his life were spent at Texas Children’s Hospital, most in the NICU. He suffered several apnea episodes over the first month which the doctors think attributed to his having cerebral palsy. He has undergone 7 surgeries on his legs and feet since birth and has been a trooper since the day he was born!

James started preschool at age 3 for therapies and continued in the public school system, mainstreamed, through 4th grade. While young, he participated in physical therapy, equine therapy, Cub Scouts and various church programs. During 4th grade he realized that using his wheelchair allowed him more freedom than his walker, so he has used his manual wheelchair as his main mode of transportation since.

Over the last six years, James has been involved in the Lonestar 4H club in several different capacities; member, Parliamentarian, Fundraising Chair, 3rd Vice President and he is hoping to obtain Community Service Chair for next fall. Through 4H, he has been involved in food competitions on both a local and state level. Just last fall, he and three other members won the State Forest Festival Hushpuppy Competition, beating out several adult groups in a stiff competition! He has also been involved in Archery, Horse riding, Speech and Photography. He has won many ribbons for his Photography on local, district and state levels. His state entry won Best of Show in the category of Theme in 2014 and hung in the state office for a year!

He has also been involved in many other activities outside of 4H such as piano, youth group trips and events, Texas Lions Camp for 11 years and Taekwondo, which is new for us this year and he loves it. He has found such confidence and strength through this program. He recently moved up to the Camo belt and received two first place medals at his first tournament in Humble, TX! He was also very determined to play basketball in the homeschool league this spring. It was difficult and sometimes frustrating with able bodied players but he stuck with it and enjoyed learning the game. James completed his first 5K last November by pushing himself in his wheelchair, finishing in less than 50 minutes! This was a huge accomplishment and he wouldn’t accept more than .25mile of help. His interests focus on comic books, movies, and anything comedic. He volunteers at the Forestry Museum and he enjoys reading, exercising outside, playing video games and hanging out with his close friends.

James has always been a wonderful speaker, but he is a fantastic listener. He makes friends easily and enjoys learning about others. We joke that he knows more about our adult friends then we know ourselves! He also has learned to try things even when scared because he doesn’t want to regret not trying. This has been encouraging to so many people, even those we don’t personally know, but even more so to myself, my husband and his brothers. Even with this, he doesn’t always feel that he is encouraging or useful (his words) and has very hard days emotionally and physically but he pushes through, determined to show what he can do and rise above. That’s something that makes us even more proud.

At home, he’s a relaxed teen who is constantly bothered (adored) by his younger brothers (5 yr old and 10 month old, both of whom were adopted at birth) whom he secretly enjoys even though he will tell you they annoy him. He makes us laugh and inspires all of us. He has a large compassionate heart and loves serving others, although he will play it off in modesty. He is currently looking at attending Stephen F. Austin and possibly becoming a counselor to help kids through their hard years and anxieties, as he has faced a lot of that himself.

“James has always been a wonderful speaker, but he is a fantastic listener. He makes friends easily and enjoys learning about others!”