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“Until 20” celebrates James Ragan’s zest for life

Posted: 4:47 PM, Sep 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-06 18:51:55-04

Here at KRIS 6 News, we’re asking our viewers to join us in fighting cancer tomorrow night — right after the NBC national “Stand Up to Cancer” program at 7 p.m.

At 8 p.m., we’ll bring you the broadcast premiere of the power documentary “Until 20.”

The program is about James Ragan and his fight for life.

James was a local young man who was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 13. He died at 20, but not before founding a non-profit called “Triumph over Kid Cancer.”

The film is about James’ zest for life. But it’s also about facing fears and having the courage to love deeply.

It was his mission to talk about it, elevating the fight against pediatric cancer.

That’s desperately needed, because in the last 30 years only a handful of new drugs have been marketed for these cancers.

Now, the fight has been joined by James’ sister, Mecklin.

Ashleigh Barrera, former president of Do That One Thing Council at Veterans Memorial High School, marvels with her memories of James’ courage.

“It was just amazing how James never once didn’t stop or didn’t try,” she said. “He always put others first. It was amazing to me because I make sure everything I do now has purpose and it’s to benefit somebody else and myself.”

The program is growing and has been adopted as an extracurricular organization in 11 local schools.

“We really want to reach out to our youth and our future members, the young ones,” she said. “We want to encourage them to raise awareness about pediatric cancer.”

The students raise funds. They also go to the oncology department at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, delivering crafts they’ve worked on and providing cheer.

All of them are hoping to follow in James’ footsteps to do that one thing that will help others.