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KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

Searching for a Cure

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

A local man given two years to live has far surpassed doctor's expectations.

James Barrett has lived with Lou Gehrig's Disease for six years and recently took a trip overseas to undergo stem cell treatment.

But to the Barrett family the controversial treatment is not a political issue, but a matter of life or death.

Being one of the first 12th Man walk-ons on the Aggie Football team fore-shadowed the battle of James Barrett's life.

One that takes the support of family and the community to overcome.

"My hope for James is he will beat all the odds and one day beat this thing," says wife Carol Barrett.

James has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. It's robbed him of his strength, but not his spirit.

James and Carol traveled half way around the world to undergo stem cell treatment.

"It was hard to leave our family, it was hard to think about such a controversial issue, but we prayed a lot about it and decided to go," says Carol.

Stem cell treatment involves injecting fetal cells are directly into the brain.

The U.S. is divided on the issue of stem cell research. But China is different.

Population control allows doctors to conduct stem cell research.

But because it has become such a politically charged issue, Carol says they had to examine their own faith to decide if it was the right thing for them to do.

"I know God can make good out of things that are bad. And that's how we went, that's how we did this," says Carol.

And they don't regret it even though James had his treatment cut short by a virus.

But seeing how other patients could speak and even move because of the treatment, gave them hope.

"We've been on this long journey to Canada, California, the Mayo Clinic and now China. But we just pray, you can't deny the fact they gave him two years, possibly five and it's been six years and he's still here," says Carol.

And his life has been a blessing to others, especially his own family.

Carol says their children will always remember their father as a football hero, but they also see him as their role model.

And have learned, faith and community are the true 12th Man in life.

"My faith says to me that God can overcome everything. He wouldn't be here without the faith and support from the community," says Carol.


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