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James Dobson, 13, dies after long and courageous battle with brain cancer
James Dobson wanted cards for his 12th birthday. He got more than 6,000. This year he asked for his own room.
FILE/PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By CATHY DYSON
Even at his young age, James Dobson seemed to grasp what was really important in life--and maybe that's why people responded to him the way they did.
The 13-year-old, who fought brain cancer since kindergarten, died at his home on Sunday. He was surrounded by those he loved, as well as the collection of sports paraphernalia that became his passion when his illness took him out of the game.
"He was just a rock, if you will, for all of us," said his uncle, Tim Dobson. "He had his family with him, and that's how he wanted it to end."
In fact, James convinced his doctors at Children's Hospital in Washington, where he'd been treated, to let him spend his last days in Spotsylvania County.
"He assured all those doctors that he knew exactly what he needed to do and the only thing they needed to do was to let him come home," his uncle said. "He was able to look at his Mom and Dad and tell them he was ready to go be with the Lord."
James was featured in The Free Lance-Star several times in recent years, and each article triggered an outpouring of love, support and financial donations, according to his family.
Before his 12th birthday, James announced that all he wanted was cards, lots of them.
A September 2011 story by Sports Reporter Adam Himmelsbach mentioned that wish and detailed his fondness for football--especially the Dallas Cowboys--and his dogged determination to keep going.
James played sports until he got sick and later became a super-fan for the Chancellor High School football team. At the time, his brother, Matt, was the starting quarterback, and father, Danny, an assistant coach.
That story went viral, and James got more than 6,000 birthday cards from across the country and beyond. And the notes and well-wishes kept coming throughout the next year, his family said.
An October 2012 story produced similar results.
As his 13th birthday neared, James wanted a room of his own. But because his body had been so damaged by treatments to stop the cancer, James' parents, Cathy and Danny, weren't comfortable with him being alone.