Our Founder’s Legacy Continues to Triumph

James' Legacy Continues to Triumph

In 2006, James Ragan was an average junior high school student. An active athlete, James was a nationally ranked junior tennis player by the age of 13, when he first developed pain and swelling in his left knee.

A routine check-up with a medical specialist led to his diagnosis with Osteosarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer. He left the 7th grade as a strong, healthy athlete only to return the following year frail and without hair as a result of intensive chemotherapy treatments.

Despite grueling surgeries and devastating treatments, James remained positive and kept moving forward.

When James and his older sister, Mecklin, learned there was no cure for his disease, nor research being done to find one, they decided to take this experience and influence change: they made it their mission to raise money to fund pediatric cancer research.

In 2007, one year after his diagnosis, James and Mecklin hosted a toga party with the theme, “Triumph Over Kid Cancer.” The event garnered $40,000 its inaugural year, which was donated to Driscoll Children’s Hospital and M.D. Anderson. This initiative led to the development of our foundation in 2010.

For the next four years, we continued our charitable efforts raising over $1 million dollars toward pediatric cancer research in partnership with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Throughout this time, James himself dealt with multiple surgeries and experimental treatments, that gradually eroded his health and quality of life. On February 17, 2014, shortly after meeting their first goal of $1.5 million dollars toward M.D. Anderson’s Children’s Sarcoma Initiative, James passed away.

Like thousands of other pediatric cancer children before him, we lost the promise he brought to the future. We proudly continue to carry on James’ legacy through our fundraising, supporting multiple research projects throughout the years. Most recently, we have begun 2 new pledge projects, matched dollar for dollar by their respective institutions:

  • $1 million to fund a phase 2 drug trial at M.D. Anderson for a drug whose original research was funded by the Children’s Sarcoma Initiative.
  • $1 million to fund a new immunotherapy drug being developed at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Each institution’s research projects have the potential to create major breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of multiple orphan pediatric cancer.

If you would like to help honor James’ legacy and contribute to this innovative research, learn more about our partnership opportunities by emailing TOKC@TriumphOverKidCancer.org, calling 361-883-TOKC (8652) or by donating online here.