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'Cancer warrior laid down his sword'

Jimmy Fowkes dies Sunday

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jimmy FowkesJimmy Fowkes of Lake Oswego died Sunday of the brain cancer he had fought for the past seven years.

Fowkes is the son of Dan and Margo Fowkes and brother to Molly Fowkes. In January 2006, at the age of 13, he was diagnosed with medullablastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor.

Over the years, he was the focus of several news stories and features in the Lake Oswego Review.

Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s book, “It’s Not About the Bike,” Fowkes, 21, turned his energy to fundraising, participating in the Livestrong Challenge, the major event for Armstrong’s nonprofit organization Livestrong, which seeks to help people affected by cancer. His first year participating, Fowkes raised more than $33,000. His efforts to date have generated more than $230,000 for the charity.

One of his first fundraisers was a head-shaving event at what was then Waluga Junior High School when 27 school friends shaved their heads in solidarity with Fowkes.

“I just really realized how much support I had from friends and family and how much they cared about me and wanted to help,” said Fowkes in an interview with The Stanford Daily at Stanford University, where he was a junior in religious studies. The article said that Fowkes’ fundraising success caught the eye of Livestrong staff member Renee Nicholas, who called Fowkes and arranged for him to meet Armstrong at an event at the Tualatin 24-Hour Fitness Center.

“I really just had an immediate connection and a tremendous amount of admiration for his courage and intellect and really just general spirit,” Nicholas said in The Stanford Daily article. “He was a really remarkable person, and that was evident even at a really young age.”

Fowkes, his family and Armstrong forged a lasting friendship. Armstrong expressed his condolences on Twitter: “RIP Jimmy Fowkes. You have forever touched my life as well as millions others. I will miss you. #jimmystrong.”

“... Our cancer warrior laid down his sword and shield for the last time,” wrote his family in an email circulated to family and friends. “Jimmy was a bright shining star. Although his body could no longer withstand the effects of cancer, his spirit will live in all of us who knew and loved him.”

Plans for celebrating his life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Livestrong on Jimmy and Molly’s Fowkes fundraising page, livestrong.org/fundraising/event/1700/48305.

Barb Randall can be reached at brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com and 503-636-1281, ext. 100. Follow her on Twitter, @barbatthereview.

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