A young man who inspired many in the battle against pediatric cancer passed away Monday night after succumbing to his own battle with the disease.
James Ragan was only 20 when he died. He had long suffered from pediatric bone cancer, but he demonstrated amazing courage wherever he went.
Kiii News Reporter Sarah Acosta spoke with his family on Tuesday.
James was diagnosed at 13 years old, and after hearing the news, he threw a party -- a party that would help raise money for other kids fighting the same disease. That party turned into a non-profit organization called Triumph Over Kids Cancer, and has now raised more than $1.6 million.
However, his family says his biggest impacts were made through the people he met.
"To some he's an inspiration. To others, he's just a really good friend who happened to be in a room next door getting chemo," his sister, Mecklin Ragan, said. "And to others, they were James' inspiration."
His sister describes him as courageous, family oriented and thoughtful.
"People used to always say, it's so funny. You ask James how are you doing. He kind of quickly managed to divert the question back to 'How are you? How are your kids? How is your family doing.' He was really good at that," Mecklin said.
Another thing he was really good at was getting people to pay attention, including the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. In 2012, he pressed the board for how to spend cancer research money, which lead to MD Anderson Cancer Center naming him as its special ambassador, an honor never given to anyone else.
His sister said is was his inspirational speeches that left the biggest impression.
"And I think everybody that had the opportunity to hear James speak always left having learned something," Mecklin said. "Usually, I'm sure its what he intended us to learn."