A Tribute to James David Stulce
It would be a tragedy to define James' life by the cancer that ended it. More important than his struggle as a cancer patient was the role he played as a son, brother, uncle, grandson, cousin, nephew and friend. James lived a full life, making every minute count. He was full of love, making everyone feel welcome in his presence. He was full of laughter, always the life of the party with his funny stories and jokes. He was full of music, using anything around as a percussion instrument, scratching vinyl as a DJ and always introducing us to the newest up-and-coming artist. But mostly, he was full of life always doing what he set his mind to and enjoying every breath he took! While his death came only months before his graduation from college, we know the success he would have had pursuing his dream of becoming a sports agent.
We continue to discover the far reaching impact James had on the lives of so many: his nieces, who remember him for bringing french fries, crayons and a toy on every visit; his young cousins remember his cool cell phone; his many classmates, Coast Guard buddies, Bank of America co-workers and customers, and the many individuals all over the world who remember James and reach out to share their memories. Three years after his death, as we approach what would have been James' 31st birthday, we try to find solace in the parallel between James' life and the following quote: "The beginning of everything is happy, the end is always sad - it's the middle that really counts." James certainly made the middle count, not only in his life but in the lives of all those who were fortunate enough to know him.
The Sarcoma Journey
James' fight with sarcoma was hard and short, and the final diagnosis was not complete until after his death. Extreme back pain caused James to seek the advice of an orthopedic surgeon. A compressed disc due to an injury in the Coast Guard appeared to be causing the pain radiating from his back down his leg. After two surgeries, James' health continued to deteriorate and the pain continued. A doctor visit for a persistent cough and chest congestion led to a chest x-ray which showed cancer had metastasized to his lungs from somewhere in his body. Upon further tests the origin of the cancer appeared to be a tumor in his pelvic region. Chemotherapy was administered quickly in an effort to treat what appeared to be testicular cancer. The treatment proved to be too much for James' quickly deteriorating body, and he was placed in a medically-induced coma. After only a few short days his body began to shut down, and we lost James on August 14th, 2007, a day forever ingrained in our minds. An autopsy later showed James had a nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) on his sciatic nerve, which proved to be a sarcoma.
James continues to be dearly missed! As our family grows, we continue to honor his memory by celebrating his life and passing along our memories of our time with him! Recognizing James' life was unexpectedly cut short, we focus on living our lives to the fullest and appreciating each day we have together.
About Sarcoma Research
Sarcoma research is imperative to stop stories like that of James and our family from becoming a reality. While James never gave up, he never had a chance to truly fight this unforgiving, rapidly spreading disease. It is our hope to turn the story of his struggle into an opportunity to raise awareness of sarcoma, leading to earlier detection and increased research funding to ensure more effective treatment options.
Donate in James' Memory
To make an online donation in James' memory: During the donation process, click on the blue "dedicate this donation" link and type James' name before clicking on the large blue "proceed" button.
At least 97% of your donations in honor of James will be used for peer-reviewed sarcoma research. We hope that this research will better the lives of countless people who face this disease, both now and in the future.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation in James' memory, please consider donating by check, as checks incur no processing fees. To donate securely online with a 4.9% processing fee, use the "donate now" button.
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