Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Learn About Neurofibromatosis

Here's a link to some great Neurofibromatosis sites. This is where I did my own research on NF. You can request a great packet of info from
This is the Washington State NF organization,

Great Interview on CNN!

James and I had quite a bit of fun with our 8 minutes of fame on CNN. It was fun talking about James and all that everyone has done.

I decided to post our donation button again so if anyone wanted to donate they could. Through everyone's generosity we have raised over $240,000. James will need surgery about every 5 years and any extra money will be given to someone with Neurofibromatosis who needs the help just like James did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

James & Katie on CNN Live -Wed at 10:20am PST

James and I are excited to be able to talk to CNN on Wednesday about all that's happened. There were so many people from around the world who contributed and have been following the story that we are grateful to show and tell the results via CNN. Kyra Philips will interview us live via satellite. We will be in Seattle talking to her.

So, set the DVR for CNN, the 10am PST show tomorrow, November 26th.

KOMO news story-- James O'Neal "It's perfect."

Watch the story.


Exciting news about Dr. Peter Neligan---

CHICAGO – Peter Neligan, MD, Professor of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, was named President of the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation (PSEF), at Plastic Surgery 2008, the annual scientific assembly of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The PSEF is the research arm of ASPS, the world’s largest plastic surgery association and foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

Dr. Neligan will serve as PSEF President for one year. “The PSEF is an amazing source of support for funding and development within the plastic surgery arena,” said Dr. Neligan “and my hope as PSEF President is to further establish it as the main research engine in the field of plastic surgery.”

An ASPS Member Surgeon since 1988, Dr. Neligan currently serves on the ASPS/PSEF Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He also served as a member of the Data Task Force, Publications Committee, and the Maliniac Selection Committee. In addition, he is the Chair of the Research Oversight Committee.

Congratulations to you, Dr. Neligan and thank you for all you have done for our friend with your knowledge.

James' Sisters By His Side Throughout

James just loved having his sisters by his side.

James sister Linda who came from Idaho said of Billie,

"Billie was there from minute one in the hospital and sat by his bedside and supported him through everything. She drove from Auburn sometimes twice a day just to be there for him. While doing this she juggled school, work, family and making sure that I was picked up and returned back to the airport. If there is anyone (besides you) who deserves praise and appreciation for supporting James it is her. Through it all she never thought about herself but only of James and what he might need." -Linda

What a wonderful tribute from an awesome family!

Here are two of James' great friends.

Who is this guy?

The new look of our boy!

James told me the tumor they removed weighed eight pounds! James set a new record at the UW hospital for most units of blood needed-- 28!! We weren't going for any records!

The Sea Gals stopped by the hospital to cheer James on!

Watch KOMO's Reveal of James new Face

Last night KOMO showed the new face of James. Watch it here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sorry for the delay on updates!

I haven't been able to log in to.. anything lately. Don't know why, but now I'm back!

James is taking it easy and doing great because of it. I'm glad he's not rushing back to a busy life. He got his stitches out and the swelling is down even more and everything is healing nicely. He's been up to Safeway several times to say hello to all his friends. Many wonderful people have brought him dinner, too.

He will need another procedure to get the rest of the tumor off. With all the bleeding it caused, it was too risky to take it all in the first surgery.The doctor said that whenever he is feeling 100% then they can schedule it.

I have to say how awesome James' family has been. They have supported him through and through. What a blessing to have such wonderful people in your life.

On Monday night, at 11pm, KOMO news will air their big reveal of James new face. If you miss it, I will put the link on the website for you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

James Going Home!

James is scheduled to go home today! He is feeling great and looks fantastic. The huge bulk of tumor that USED to hang down from his face is gone! As soon as he woke up from surgery he felt his face and said, "I have a nose!"

Watch his story here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

James Out of ICU today!

Happy Day! James has graduated to his own room!

Tomorrow I will take him all the letters and cards you all have sent him. It's an impressive pile! Marlene and I were reading through them the other day and it warmed our hearts to hear the kind words of encouragement and support from everyone. THANKS!


I want to send a big shout-out to Dr. Neligan for the fine work he performed! He and his team did a fantastic job taking care of our boy!

We were so blessed to have his fine expertise in our own back yard.

Check out his website:

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Tube is Out!

The doctors took the breathing tube out this morning, and James was out of bed and in a chair! He can speak well and has no pain. The doctor says he is "doing awesome". He may get out of the ICU on Wednesday.

Thanks for all your kind comments and notes to him. They will really boost him up.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

James' sister visits from Idaho

Today James sister from Idaho arrived. He brightened substantially to have her there. She should be able to stick around for a few days which is sure to keep his spirits high.

The doctors are going to try to take the tube out of his mouth tomorrow morning. This will be fantastic as James should be able to check out of the ICU then.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

James Recovering in ICU.

James is doing great, though the swelling in his face is substantial. It has subsided some, but the doctors don't want to take out his tubes until it has decreased more.

He spent some time this afternoon watching the Husky game with a close friend. There is a sticky note on the TV to be sure the Seahawk game is turned on at the right time tomorrow. Oh, I hope no one forgets!

His sense of humor is intact even though he can't speak and I think he'd tackle someone to take the tube out of his mouth if he could get up. Go James!

Friday, November 7, 2008

James doing well!

Thank you for all the kind words and prayers for James. He is doing well. He is in the ICU and being kept under tonight. He has a lot of swelling and they want that to go down before they move him to a room. His dad and other sister came to visit him today too.

I hear his nurse is "just a dear", so he is definitely in good hands. He isn't receiving any visitors besides family while in the ICU since he can't talk with the tube in his mouth, but hopefully that will be out in a day or so.

I thought Michelle Esteban did such a fantastic job on the story Thursday night. It was so touching and I loved having a little birds eye view into the OR. I am absolutely thrilled that James did so well in the surgery and is on his road to recovery.

This is a monumental day thanks to ALL OF YOU! I could not do it alone, a few of us couldn't do it, it required a community of friends near and far to do it. Thank you for bringing this day to James!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

James out of Surgery!

James came through great and Dr. Neligan finished quicker than anticipated. James did have more bleeding than expected and required 26 units of O-Positive Blood. I know the blood bank would be appreciative of any donations of O-Positive blood to restock their supply.

James may be in the ICU until Saturday, but he looks "beautiful" says his friend Ellen who will be by his side all night. The doctor showed her photos of him before wrapping his face up, and Ellen couldn't believe how fantastic he looked. She says the swelling is setting in now, but he's going to look wonderful.

The surgeon believes minor procedures every five years should keep up with the slow, anticipated growth of the tumor.

Watch KOMO's story as they were inside the OR with James.
Read KOMO's story here.

Dr Neligan is finishing up now.

The news from the OR is that Dr Neligan is starting to close him up now, which may take an hour. He is stable and doing well. He responded well to the anesthesia and should be in the recovery room soon.

7:45am -- James in Surgery!!

James arrived at UW Medical Center at 4:30 am this morning. He was in good spirits and looking forward to the results the day would bring. His sister was there with him as well as a few close friends. The surgical staff took him back to the OR at 7:45am. They anticipated a 9 hour surgery. KOMO news was there to capture the day and you can watch their story tonight at 11pm.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Message from James

Count Down is On!!

James is really looking forward to his surgery Nov 6th. He's working hard at work and counting down the days.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Send off Party at Pizza Bank NOV 1st 1:00 -3pm

Kirkland's Pizza Bank (across the street from James' Safeway) has volunteered to open their doors early for anyone who'd like to say "good-bye" to Old James. Everyone is welcome. Food and beverage may be purchased off the menu. Thank you to the staff who will work an extra shift for us.

Grocery workers in Woodinville offer meals & dog walking.

In an effort to be a part of the community effort, grocery workers from Top Foods in James neighborhood have volunteered to cook him some meals and walk his dog while he's under the weather.

Katie Nominated for Red Cross Hero's Award

Katie Knopf has been nominated for a local Red Cross Hero's award. The award committee will meet later this year and choose the winners who will get to attend the awards breakfast.

Woodinville Fire Department offers help

The Woodinville Fire Department has offered to help James out with anything he needs. Maybe James will NEED to drive the big fire truck...

Meals for James

Two friends from Safeway are coordinating meals for James during his recovery. We have to keep some meat on this guy, so thanks for keeping his strength up! Also, someone will be cleaning his apt for him.

Sherwood Ambulance donates services

The Sherwood Ambulance service has donated their services to James during his hospital stay, even if it's to bring his flowers home for him! James anticipates feeling great after his surgery.

James featured on Jones Soda bottles

The Seahawks do a promo every year and this year they wanted to put James picture on the Jones Soda bottles. You will only be able to buy them online when they are available. James got his Jones Soda delivered! Go to to order some.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good Morning America

James has been invited to visit the Good Morning America show sometime this December. It sounds like he will be bringing his store manager Nathan, Katie Knopf and perhaps Abbie Knopf. Abbie was a 6th grader who took part in the Woodmoor Elementary Legacy Gift to James. This will be incredibly exciting for all of us!

ABC's The Doctor's Show

James will be on a new ABC show this fall called The Doctor's. There will be a local town meeting in October where anyone can come ask questions of James, the doctors, Katie Knopf, etc and then they will add his surgery to the show and broadcast it this fall. Stay posted for the Town Meeting information so you can attend if you like.

Dinner with James

I had James over for dinner tonight so we could connect and talk about all the exciting upcoming events. He filled me in on a lot of things I didn't know about and showed us his photos from Seahawks camp. We had the Peays, Richins and Gregson's over so it was lots of fun with everyone.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

James Visits Seahawk Camp!

Oh, My! Can life get any more exciting!! James visited the Seahawks practice this week and got his socks knocked off! He met just about every player on that team, they signed a helmet for him and his favorite player gave him a game jersey. Watch the story on

Toyota of Kirkland donates car to James!

James car has been unrevivable all year long! It can be difficult to get to and from work and now with all the appointments he will have, it has become more critical to have reliable transportation. Toyota of Kirkland heard about his dilemma and found a great car that they wanted to donate to him. I haven't seen it, but I'm sure it's as fabulous and a Ferrari!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

$153,250 !

We are in awe at the number of people who have felt it in their heart to contribute to James' surgery fund. This response has warmed our hearts and strengthened our belief in the humanity of mankind. James is walking on cloud nine and is looking forward to his first surgery on November 9th. I'm sure the upcoming football season and knowing he will be home recuperating during some of the season is keeping his mind at ease.

There is talk of another Little Caesars fundraiser, I'll keep you updated here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

James Visits Quest Field, up close!

James was privileged to kiss the grass on Quest Field! Not a lot of people get to do that. Watch the story here.

5 Year Old Donates all in Piggy Bank

We got a letter from a bank teller letting us know about a five year old boy who heard James story and ran up to get his piggy bank to give the money to James. It was not a small amount. The teller sent us the cutest picture that the boy had drawn for James.

Great Fundraiser at Little Caesars!

Sorry for the delay in updating the blog. I've been a little absorbed with my family and dear friends this little while.

The Little Caesars fundraiser was a screaming success. The place was packed! James stayed for several hours passing out balloons and cookies, signing pizza boxes and saying thanks to everyone. Cheers to the guy who held the "fundraiser" sign up on the main road for hours. What a trooper! And thanks to Jesse, the owner of our Little Caesars for hosting the event.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Denmark Shares James Story

If you can read Danish, check out James story here.

Little Caesars Proceeds benefit James on Tuesday

Our new Kingsgate Little Caesars plan to show their support for James by donating a portion of every Pizza and Crazy Bread purchased on Tuesday July 22nd. James will be by between 5:30pm and 6:30pm handing out balloons and signing pizza boxes. See you there!

Autograph Signing at Kingsgate Safeway Monday

Come meet Kirkland's most recent celebrity at the Kingsgate Safeway on Monday, noon to 2pm. James will be on hand to sign autographs, take pictures, and answer questions.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Courierwest of Mill Creek Donates services to Dr Neligan

Courierwest has made themselves available to Dr Neligan for any couriering services he may need in relation to James surgery. What a wonderful offer. As Richard at Courierwest said, "We are happy to help James by doing what we do best."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kingsgate Little Casears Planning Fundraiser

The owner of the new Kingsgate Little Caesars is planning a Friends of James night. More info to follow.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Talk Radio- David Boze show today on 770am

We don't know what time we'll be on, but perhaps around 4:30pm. We are excited to be on his show and look forward to telling more people about James story today.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Katie on KIRO talk radio- Ron & Don Show today 4:30 pst

The Ron & Don show has invited me to be a guest on their talk show today around 4:30 pst. They said they really like to highlight efforts such as this, so I am really honored to be on their show.
You can listen online today or to prior shows here.

Kirkland Reporter tells our story!

Kirkland Reporter picked up the Bothell story in their paper today. I just love how he is inspiring so many people with his story of courage, faith and strength. Way to go!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Seattle Times Spreads the Word

The Seattle Times published our story today, front page of the local news section.

$115,851 and climbing!

We are so grateful to all those who are supporting James. Many of you have asked about passing out his flier to spread the word. We offer our sincerest thanks. Thanks to Jack for posting the flier on the blog, and thanks to my good friend Marlene for taking over printing fliers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dr. Neligan Donates His Services!

James received a call today from his surgeon, Peter Neligan, who said that he wanted to donate his services to James. This is something we really hoped for. I about burst into tears.

James surgery is scheduled for November 6th at the University of Washington.

Check out Dr Neligan's webpage to learn more about this fantastuc surgeon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flier for Donation Drives

Many have been asking for a flier or something they can hand out to spread the word about James. Here is the flyer we've been using around town. Click here to get the full size image of the flyer. And here is a pdf with 2 copies of the flyer on one 8 1/2 by 11 page.
And here it is as the same thing in a word doc
Thank you for all the donations, love, and support you have all shown James!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Surgery Scheduled for November 2008!

The chief of Plastic Surgery at University of Washington evaluated James this week and confirmed that he was a good candidate for the procedure. He is scheduled for November. The surgery will last 10-12 hours! There will be a couple follow up procedures and then in two years they will reevaluate and perhaps fine tune some things.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the KOMO TV report on James' doctor appointment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

KOMO Report on Woodmoor 6th Graders

Komo just posted the video on the Woodmoor Elementary 6th Graders donation to James. It's great seeing James interact with the kids. My kids love seeing "pirate" James - it's so wonderful to be around James and his attitude.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Woodmoor 6th Graders Legacy Gift Recipient

The 6th Graders at Woodmoor elementary have chosen James as the beneficiary of their legacy gift. Every year they raise money to do something special to say 'we were here'. This year they will donate it to James at a ceremony during their graduation party at High Woodlands Park. When I know the time I'll let you know.

Komo news did another great story last night. They showed several of his childhood pictures. He was such a cute kid! It think he is still such a handsome man but the tumors steal his thunder. You can really see how much of a sports fan he is on the video. They filmed it at his house and everything is Seahawks! Check out the story.
More than $100,000 collect for James 'Mr Hollywood' O'Neal

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Incredible! Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped with this amazing campaign. KOMO news filmed James at his house and will high light his sports collection on the news today at 4 or 5pm on KOMO 4. I'm working on getting the flier linked, it's been a busy week with school nearly out.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

AlaskaUSA Credit Union Accepting Donations

AlaskaUSA credit union is accepting donations into a fund for James. They are located inside the grocery stores which makes stopping in easy and quick. Thanks for the account AlaskaUSA.

James says his dad is so excited about the campaign. He wants some fliers to pass out around his home. I can't keep fliers in stock! Everyone wants them.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Great Work Everyone Involved!

James is the talk of the town and is the buzz around Safeway!  I was up there shopping today and every register was excited to be involved and to be a part of helping James. Thank You Safeway! Fundraising is really going great. Let's keep up our efforts and keep spreading the word. This is a worthwhile effort and I feel blessed to be a part of these wonderful people in this community and around the community around the World! Way to go Friends of James!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Absolutely Amazing! We are so humbled by everyone's generosity. If you have wondered why we are still collecting donations despite being past our goal, I'd like to fill you in. We don't know exactly what to expect from James' procedures or insurance company. There will likely be many surgeries over the coming years and we have been told that the costs could easily exceed or double our initial goal. I would feel more comfortable with a cushion, then having to scramble for more later. We thank you for every penny, it really will change someone's life.

KOMO Gives Excellent Coverage

KOMO has done an excellent job covering James' story. We are very pleased with the heart in their coverage. Watch their stories of James through the links below.

Young Boy, Old Friend Eagerly Help Out- June 4, 2008
Hundreds Reach Out to James O'Neal -June 2, 2008
He is An Amazing Man - May 29, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thanks Logan!

Logan donated all his birthday money to James' fund! Then his parents and grandparents matched it. Thank you Logan, that was a truly gracious thing to do.

KOMO Updating Story again, 4:30 pst sharp

KOMO is broadcasting a new update today at 4:30pm PST sharp! I thought last nights broadcast was really good. We are enjoying the coverage. Different companies here and abroad are inquiring about covering James story. He really is touching everyone's life. It will be exciting to see how it all works out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Thank you! What else can we say our hearts are truly full!! I'm Aubrey by the way, one of  the behind the scene people working to make this dream a reality. We thank you for being a part of our dream and supporting James. Check out the updated report on they ran a new story tonight and told how much they've raised. They'll be at James first Dr.'s appointment this month and will let us know how things went. Thank you all for your continued support and love. Aubrey

Wow , what a great experience! Thanks to all!

This has been AWEsome, humbling and at times really teary. This project is a wonderful testament to the natural goodness in all of us. The sweet words and messages that came with the donations didn't change with a $2 donation or a large dollar amount. Those words have inspired James and us all. Keep spreading the word and sending messages. As James gets closer to his life changing surgery those words will help in ways untold. Thanks to all!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

$42,515 and climbing!

Today the Seattle Times is meeting me and James at Safeway. I'll let you know when the story will print. Keep telling us places and countries where you heard James' story so we can keep track for him. I am so thrilled to see everyone pulling together for a stranger. It makes me think about what we could do for the world if we tried. Everyone has something to give- time, money or talents. There's enough to go around. THANK YOU!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

James in Belguim!

James continues to make news around the world for his bravery, this time in Belgium! Anyone read Dutch? Google Translate shows the title as "Customers collect money for 'olifantenman' behind the cash register".

Facebook Group

For any of you that are on Facebook, I've created a Facebook group called "Friends of James O'Neal". We appreciate all you are doing for James! He should be hearing back tomorrow with a timeline on Doctor visits. We are expecting that he can begin his visits sometime in the 3rd week of June but we'll know more tomorrow. Stay tuned!

And by way of introduction, I'm Jack Richins, Aubrey Richins' husband and a friend of Katie's if you've seen the Komo4 video. I'll just be posting here some to help out Katie. Thanks!


This is the total as of right now. We still don't know how much has come in from Safeway and KOMO news but hope to find out this week.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Anyone Can Print Fliers

The day is going great! I posted right before midnight, so I want you all to know that was the amount raised as of midnight. We are updating the flier that we have used around town but if you would like to print fliers to pass out in your area, we will get a link here soon.

Friday, May 30, 2008

$30,614.89 to date!

What a wonderful time we are having watching all the love pour in. We still have money from Safeway to receive and KOMO will release their updated numbers this weekend when they rebroadcast his story.

James met with our Safeway contacts today to start the ball rolling. He is scheduling his first appointment with the surgeon who will be in charge of his future. We are really lucky to have Safeway on our side. They donate a lot of money to the medical community in WA and so Safeway's own medical team know right where to find the best surgeons.

James says he wants to have a fun summer first; he has lots of trips and golfing planned and then he would like to start the procedures when the weather turns. He got a little emotional talking about how grateful he was to everyone and the massive response. He's so happy as he is, but life would be so much easier without all the weight pulling his head over. Cheers to all of you-- especially Australia!


To the unemployed student, the child who gave a couple of precious dollars to the ones who have deep pockets and every circumstance in between, we give our sincerest thanks. We are loving all your comments!

We are well on our way! Our Total is well over $23,000.00. That is just what we are sure of. This does not include what Safeway has collected -

Or what Komo 4 Has collected in the past day or so. We are collecting donations under and now have a link to

James story has reached so many news organizations. Donations are pouring in from all over the World.

James wants you to know whether your donations are $5 or much more that he is deeply touched and feels so loved by your outpourings. We have loved the messages sent through PayPal with the donations. We plan to compile a Scrap book with all your messages so James will always remember each gesture.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thank you to the WORLD!

We are humbled by your generous hearts. What a difference a day has made for our Friend!

Pay Pal is activated under the email:

Donate at
Go to "Problem Solvers" and choose the story "He is an Amazing Man". At the end of the story there is a link to donate through. Please type in "Friends of James O'Neal" in the box to specify the recipient.

Visit a Bank of America location
"For the Benefit of James O'Neal" account

We can now say that his story has gone Global! His story has reached Australia, Canada and Great Britain. Safeway Grocery has stepped up, and donated the first $10,000 for James' surgery. Starting in July, they will have donation canisters available in every check stand in four states.

Soon you can donate directly at the register of the local Kingsgate Safeway and currently at the Bank of Alaska inside the store. We are having trouble with Bank Of America, but it should be cleared up by Fri. Please be patient.

James story was aired on CNN and with the story KOMO 4 news filmed on May 28th. Check out and and to watch the video or read the transcript which includes a little more information.

We are so thankful for all the comments, they inspire us, and keep us going. I was just talking with James and he was reading through all your notes. He is SO excited about how much has happened in the past 2 days, and is looking forward to his life altering surgeries. We will get a video of him talking to you uploaded soon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Goal

James was born with Neurofibromatosis. As a child he had surgery pretty much every year to keep up with the growths on his face. His dad would take the family on a summer vacation after his surgeries so he could recover and have fun. When he turned 18 he didn't have insurance to cover more surgeries. The tumors have stopped growing now and he would love to have the last procedures done. He was told his insurance company won't cover it because he was born with it, sort of a preexisting condition. We will be working with insurance advocates on that one, but in the mean time we are working toward a goal of $50,000 to cover the cost of treatment and recovery. James is very excited that we have taken this project on but I know he's a little leery of it actually happening. I am committed to doing everything I can to get him into the recovery room.

Mr. One-Eye

Mr. One-Eye

This is an exciting day! We are thrilled to have started our fundraising project for James. He is a fantastic guy that deserves the best in life. So many people care about him and appreciate who he is. Originally I was going to send his story to Oprah, but I just couldn't do it. I finally realized that our community needed to be Oprah. So many people have expressed a desire to help, I hope we can finish this project quickly and get James into the recovery room.

Bank of America is ready to accept donations. You have to go into one of their branches to donate. If you can't make it in, let me know and I can help you out. Cheers to the beginning of a wonderful journey for all of us.