This is the story of James:

Five years ago, a young boy named James asked his mother, Amy, “When you were my age, did you think about making your mark on the world?” The profound depth of this inquiry, coming from a 10-year-old, reflected James's exceptional nature. 

Two weeks after James turned seven-years old he complained of a headache to his mother and told her, “Mommy, I need a doctor right now.” A trip to the ER led to James being medivacked to UCLA the following day. Two days later, James had brain surgery. He had been diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer.

Following two brain surgeries, 33 sessions of radiation, and two-and-a-half years of in-patient chemotherapy every-other-week, James’ recovery is nothing short of a miracle. His last treatment was in July of 2017.

As a survivor of brain cancer, James embodies the spirit of resilience and hope.

Now, at the age of 15, the journey has been anything but simple for James. While he previously battled cancer with admirable strength, he had faced another challenge in the form of daily seizures. This persisted until May of 2023, when a week after school concluded, James underwent a full temporal lobectomy. In an intricate procedure, 25% of his brain - the temporal lobe, hippocampus, and amygdala - was removed. Today, James is seizure-free and is eagerly looking forward to obtaining his driver's permit, a milestone that seemed unattainable just a year ago.

James's journey of tenacity doesn't stop there. Now a sophomore in high school, he excels as an honors student. In his freshman year, James showcased his craftsmanship, becoming a 2023 Bronze medal winner in the carpentry competition at Skills USA. As if that wasn't enough, James is also a skilled archer, and his talents in woodworking are evident in his creations. From hand-turned pens to intricately designed boxes and cutting boards, James pours his heart into every piece. This passion has translated into his own Etsy business, serving as a testament to his determination and artistic flair.

Dreams once veiled by uncertainty now shine bright in James's eyes. As he grows older, he aspires to handcraft custom furniture, blending his love for artistry and craftsmanship.

Meanwhile, Amy, and James's 13-year-old sister, Juliette, continue to cherish every moment together, reminding one another of the blessings in every breath. Amy’s commitment to supporting families battling cancer diagnoses remains steadfast, drawing from her personal experiences with James's journey. Their loving community, especially the invaluable support from Candlelighters, remains a beacon of hope and strength for them.

Now a teenager, James looks forward to spending time with his Candlelighters Teen Scene friends every month having fun and connecting with kids his age who share a special connection through cancer. The bond is undeniable with the teens as they understand life in ways most others don’t.

With each passing day, James continues to give back. From training his golden retriever, Zeke, to visit kids in the hospital, to serving as an ambassador for the childhood cancer community, and creating Lego brick bracelets symbolizing strength, James’s spirit of generosity knows no bounds. He may have once pondered about making his mark on the world, but for those who know his story and are inspired by it, James Kish has already left an indelible imprint.