ricky james spirit award

"The Ricky James Spirit Award is given to an outstanding senior who stands out in his or her passion and achievements within Miracle."

Ricky's Story


On 06/01/05 Rick and Shelli James were blessed with the birth of Richard Allen James III (aka Ricky). A beautiful boy with big blue eyes, a head of curls & a smile that just made you want to hug him. Ricky is the love of our lives & the glue that bonds us. On 04/01/07 Ricky was brought to Childrens' with severe constipation. Within 4 hours we learned that Ricky had a tumor blocking his rectum and we were going to be admitted. The doctors feared a malignancy. 4 days later and several tests, it was confirmed - Ricky has rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer that attaches to the muscles and in Ricky's case, it is believed that the pelvic mass is stemming from his prostate. The tumor is about the size of a tennis ball.

Ricky is the light in a room. He completed 42 weeks of chemo with 28 treatments of radiation (M-F 07/05/07-08/13/07). On 08/08/07 Rick and I were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Erin Michele. Ricky came to the hospital directly from radiation demanding to see "HIS BABY" and she has been his primary source of attention since.

On 1/11/08 Ricky received his last chemo, with Erin by his side. On 02/08/08, his first post-chemo scans showed clear margins & Ricky was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease). It was a wonderful day.

Unfortunately, Ricky's next scans on 5/16/08 showed a mass and on 05/20/08 our worst fears were concerned....Ricky had a 2-3 cm tumor on the posterior of his prostate.  On 05/30/08 Ricky had his port re-inserted and began another 42-52 weeks of more advanced chemo. Radiation was not an option this round. On 10/14/08 Ricky had surgery to remove his bladder, his prostate, surrounding lymph nodes and an extended portion of his urethra. His transverse colon was also removed to create a conduit for his urine. Ricky wears a urostomy bag. He will have an additional 8 cycles of chemo before completing the battle this time around. On 02/29/08, the last day of his 22nd month of treatment, Ricky received his last chemo.  In June, after 2 clear scans, Ricky's port was again removed.

On August 12, 2009 Ricky had his routine 6 month scans.  His lungs showed 2 very small lesions (the largest 1 mm) on his right lung.  It was agreed that we would rescan in 6 weeks.  On September 16th Ricky was rescanned and on September 17th, we received the devastating news that Ricky now had at least 14 lesions on both lungs with the largest now 1.1 cm.  After much research it was determined that Ricky would receive chemo again.  On October 1st, Ricky had his 3rd port inserted and began chemo, for the 3rd time is his life.  Scans were re-done before the chemo began and the lesions were spreading and multiplying with too many to count.

Ricky lost his battle with cancer and earned his angel wings on May 23, 2010. Despite this, the James family has been essential in UGA Miracle's movement in raising money for our hospital. They are still at almost every event and serve as an inspiration for everyone they meet.