Helping James- a Brave Boy with a Dream

There are times in my life where i’m struck with such an instant shot of purpose that I can’t help but drop everything else around me simply so that I can throw 100% of my energy at what’s in front of me.

This feeling is why i’m writing now and it’s driven by the bravery and aspirations of a young man called James. I’m going to help him, and I hope you can too.

MEET JAMES:

James is an 18 year old boy who’s last year of schooling was far different to my own and that of the majority. On September 16th 2013, nearing the end of the most important and testing times as a Year 12 student, James complained of a sore back and so went to see his local physio for a quick check-up. Two days later, by September 18th, he’d been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. His world had bee flipped upside down in an instant.

James has been a hard worker, not just at school but also in the workplace. Having been a loyal employee at his local K-Mart store for many years, James has always been goal focused and has saved every penny of his hard work to buy his dream car; a four wheel drive, that he hoped to work on and build into a touring vehicle to go camping with. The ‘great outdoors’ as James put it had always been a huge interest to him and he told me proudly of how awesome he felt on the day that his hard work finally paid off and was finally able to buy his dream 4×4. Sadly, soon after this moment, he was diagnosed with his illness and was unable to develop his 4×4.

James with his 4x4 before his diagnosis...

James with his 4×4 before his diagnosis…

A standard X-Ray at his physio’s practice had exposed 3 hairline fractures in his vertebrae causing his sore back (possibly an aftermath of a martial arts upbringing) but through this finding, an ambulance ride and many additional tests, James’ sore back had sadly (but luckily) exposed a far greater problem, the finding of his Leukaemia. In the lead up to his final school tests and on the verge of graduating from high school and entering the big wide world of adulthood, James’ only concern was now his health. Nothing else mattered. An immediate program of chemotherapy was administered and James had to pull out of school. Affecting not just himself, but his family and friends as well, a time of celebration and reward was unfortunately turned into a time of doubt about James’ future.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.35.18 am

James during the first days of his chemo treatment…

Having only moments ago hopped off the phone from chatting to James, I can’t help but smile at one particular sentence he mentioned to me amongst this going story.

“Seb, I know this might sound a little silly but when I was being treated and had no idea what would happen through all of the chemo, instead of being afraid at the treatment, it actually made me think about all the small things in life. When times were tough I just started to appreciate the thought idea of being outside and eventually taking my new 4×4 for a drive and going camping under the stars. That was my dream and that’s ultimately what helped me out in fighting my condition”

By his 18th birthday James was feeling the full effect of his treatment...

By his 18th birthday James was feeling the full effect of his treatment…

Thanks to the quick action of the doctors and also the incredibly positive mindset of James, an eighteen year old with a big dream, James is over the moon to announce today that he is now in remission from his cancer. Although not completely out of the woods, James is in high spirits, and so too are those around him. Without being able to sit his final exams for high school, James’ school took it upon themselves to use the averages of James’ previous test scores to give him a grade and this in turn has meant that James has successfully left school with a wonderful pass mark. On top of this, James has rushed back to work at K-Mart just so he can start to save some more money to help him get some crucial 4×4 and camping gear so that he can finally realise his dream and go camping in the great outdoors! How inspiring!

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

This is where I, and potentially you, come in. I’m thankful to come into contact with a whole variety of people in my own journey of 100 Things and often there are times where I believe people deserve a little help. Without having to think about it, I knew instantly when I heard about James that I wanted to help him. My introduction in fact came via the amazing people at the Make-A-Wish Foundation who are also looking to help James. During our conversation I asked James what exactly he was trying to save up for- there was of course a lot of four wheel driving equipment on his list (most of which I have absolutely no idea about!) but he also wanted a few camping items and it’s these things that I would love to share with you; the 100 Things community, to see whether together we can pull together and help to gather a few items for him.

Now I’m not necessarily looking for money donations here, instead I have a belief that when we want to help someone out, material items can be gained through donations and even contacts. So in the spirit of being cheeky and trying to help someone who deserves it, I’ve  shared below the list of things that James is saving up for and I’m asking ANYONE reading this to consider whether they’d have any way of helping to obtain any of the items, or know of someone who could.

Remember James does not know anything about this and is not aware that I’m sharing these things. He does not expect any gifts and so the list items below are simply things that he is currently working and saving to buy. Further more, if there are any other creative ways in which you think you might be able to help, I’m all ears. Tips, four wheel driving lessons perhaps or even recommended camping spots would be amazing. It’s all about the thought.

JAMES’ WISH LIST:

Camping Gear

-          Camp cooking equipment
-          Double swag
-          2.5m x 3m awning
-         Any camping gear is much appreciated!

4×4 Gear

-          2 sets of Maxtrax (plastic boards that are placed under tyres for more traction while bogged)
-          ARB twin air compressor (pumping up and reseating tyres, cleaning air filters)
-          2 TJM Pro Lockers (locks front and back differential, eliminates open differential and causes all 4 wheels to turn)
-          4L air tank (ability to use air tools)
-          Garmin 64st (hand held gps)
-          EPRS Anti rust (ER 10 212) (prevents sault water corrosion)
-          Optima yellow top battery (second battery, runs all accessories ie. spot lights, UHF, winch. This way the first battery is dedicated to starting your car and will also charge second battery(never get a flat battery)
-          Redarc (Prevents 1st battery from going flat. Even if second battery goes plat)
-          2 ARB Intensity spotlights (LED driving spot lights)
-          Custom canopy (set up for touring, and made from sheet metal like in pics)
-          20m winch extension strap (adds an extra 20m to the length of your winch cable)
-          Equalizer strap (it is fed through the eye of a tow strap or snatch strap before each end is attached to each chassis rail. Spreads forces on vehicle)
-          4 tree trunk protectors (protects trees. Snatch block can be attached to prevent the tree being ring barked and also protects winch cable)
-          4 snatch blocks (glorified name for a heavy duty pulley)

If you think you’d like, and are able, to help, please contact me directly on seb@100things.com.au. I will reply immediately with a phone call.

MEETING JAMES:

My plan is to meet James next Friday 12th December in Brisbane, and gift him with everything we’ve been able to gather before then going camping for 1 night with the man himself!

I will keep you all posted with our progress and plans over the next 2 weeks.

Thanks so much for getting involved and if you’re after some inspiration for the day, I hope James has given this to you.

How amazing are people?!

 

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