LOCAL Houston | The City Guide May 2016 - Page 10

ON OUR RADAR I feel like I’ve been let in on a secret. A secret which offers perspective to the purpose of life and how to win at living. But at a cost. There’s something touching about watching another human’s life as he’s actually living it and processing the roadblocks as they come. Until 20 is JAMES ARTHUR RAGAN’S life and legacy beautifully condensed into 83 minutes. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 12 years old, James shares in the film, “Our first natural instinct is to survive and want to live. And so it’s a difficult balance between wanting to live, knowing you are going to die and trying to die with some kind of quality and dignity.” Until 20 follows James, a fellow Texan by way of Corpus Christi and promising young golfer, through his diagnosis with osteosarcoma – a rare type of cancer described by one of his nurses, Anna Foy, as “one of the flowers that you blow and the seeds go everywhere. There’s tiny particles and once it spreads, it’s like a wildfire.” There are so many poignant moments sprinkled throughout the film, covering the gamut of life. From truly living in the moment, the rites of passage like losing your virginity, his concern over how his family will deal with his death, his fear of dying and coming to peace with the inevitable. That’s more than many older people ever have to handle, but James’ ability to focus on the bigger picture is inspiring. The foundation he started, – The Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation, which his sister Mecklin still runs today, is his legacy. In the film, James shares, “When it comes to research funding, there’s little balance between rare and fair. Ultimately it’s not about lives.” This film was produced by Geraldine Moriba and Jamila Paksima. Moriba, who is a sarcoma survivor, was a patient at MD Anderson 12 years ago. Her annual checkups bring her back to Houston, which is how she met James three years ago. The plan was to hang out with him over a weekend along with her cameraman, but in Moriba’s words, “It was such a rich and emotionally complicated weekend,” that she knew this could be a documentary. They started shooting in May 2013 and, through all the lives James touched, were able to piece together interviews to share his story. “I’m thrilled (with the documentary). It’s such an honor to be in the privileged position to tell his story, especially as a sarcoma survivor myself,” shares Moriba. The film was screened in Houston on the eve of the city’s biblical flooding in April to a sold-out theater of 400 hundred people. Over $2 million has been raised by the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation since 2010. Although James is no longer here to push pediatric cancer research, we can help honor his legacy and spread his story. Visit www.until20.com and host a community screening. www.Triumphoverkidcancer.org By Carla Valencia de Martinéz