Teen battled health issues with 'heart like a Tiger'

James Wade Lamb Jr. was the kind of boy who made sure that the new kids in school had someone to eat lunch with in the cafeteria.

He was the kind of young man who inspired a high school football team to try their hardest because they knew he would give anything to get out of his wheelchair to run a play.

James - Jamie to his family - was the kind of person who although he was in pain every day of his 19 years only complained once his father can recall and that was about an itch he couldn't scratch.

He was remembered Saturday at a service at Valley Christian Fellowship attended by 300 people including a Douglas County Sheriff's Office honor guard, family, friends, members of his youth group and the Douglas High School football team and cheerleaders.

Football player Sean Peralta could not hold back the tears as he described James as "courage overcoming adversity."

"He had a heart like a Tiger. He never quit. He didn't complain about it, not one bit," Peralta said.

He first met James in 2006 after the Tigers lost to Reed.

"He gave us a little speech about not giving up, to keep fighting," Peralta said. "Here's a young man battling cancer, confined to a wheelchair, worrying about our season. We will remember James Lamb forever."

Born with a congenital disorder that left him paralyzed from the waist down, James was diagnosed with an aggressive soft tissue cancer 18 months ago which spread throughout his body,

He died Sept. 13.

James Lamb Sr. said his son had his first surgery for spina bifida when he was a day old.

"He probably hurt every day for 19 years," his father said. "He took it, and he took it, and he took it, and he never complained."

Lamb said James never asked for much, even at Christmas.

"In his mind, he had it all," Lamb said.

Lamb thanked the football team and cheerleaders for welcoming his son.

"You didn't see his wheelchair, you saw him," Lamb said. "Your coming to the house the last couple of months, allowing him on the sidelines, you will never know what that meant."

Shaleana Parodi, 19, talked about James welcoming her the first day in a new school.

"I met him in the fifth grade. I didn't have any friends and he came up to me in his wheelchair," she said. "We could talk for days."

She laughed as she shared a story about attending a "back to school" dance in the eighth grade.

"He was making all these motions with his hands and I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'the funky chicken,'" Parodi said.

Lisa Johnson brought her 9-year-old daughter Destenye to the funeral and burial at Eastside Memorial Park in Minden.

"She said, 'Can I please come? This is my friend,'" Johnson said.

"We first met Jamie three years ago. I taught my children never to see the difference in anybody. He and my daughter were very, very close. We loved him dearly," she said.

Charlie Pedrett, 20, met James at Douglas High School.

"He always had a smile on his face. He was always joyful. He was always there if you ever needed to talk to somebody," Pedrett said. "We're glad you're in heaven with Jesus. Give him a big hug for us."

Pauline Irving was James' adaptive physical education teacher .

She talked about his love of skiing and how he overcame his fear of swimming.

"I am so honored I had the opportunity to work with him," she said. "There was such a light in his eyes. My prayer for him is that he would run in fields of green grass forever and ever."

At the cemetery, the sunshine broke through the clouds as six football players carried James' coffin to the gravesite and youth pastor Dennis Bertucci recited the 23rd psalm.

""Our boy's been through the valley," Bertucci said. "He's in the house of glory facing God face-to-face. We're going to miss you, James, but we're going to see you again."

DETAILS

Donations may be made in memory of James Lamb Jr. to U.S. Bank, account No. 153752675808

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