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Community comes through for James
Community "embraced James [Dobson] with their hearts" and raised enough money for the teenager with a brain tumor to get the specialized bed he needs

 James Dobson's special climate-controlled bed automatically turns him and vibrates to loosen secretions in his chest.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 11/29/2012

By CATHY DYSON

The Dobson family has about 38,000 reasons to be grateful for the love and concern of others this holiday season. That's how many dollars the community raised, as of last week, to cover the cost of a specialized bed for 13-year-old James Dobson.

Since he was 5, James has suffered with a brain tumor and the side effects from treatment, including 63 rounds of radiation.

When he neared his 13th birthday in September, all he asked for was a room of his own--and the sense of independence that all teenagers seek.

But because James is on a ventilator and has sensitive and brittle skin in addition to respiratory problems, his parents, Cathy and Danny, had slept in the room with him so they could turn him regularly throughout the night.

Thanks to the Hill-Rom percussion and vibration bed, which the Dobsons received the day before Thanksgiving, James can sleep in his bed, in his own room.

The bed rotates him regularly through the night and delivers the respiratory treatments he needs.

"This bed has been amazing. It's met his needs and beyond," his mother said. "He's been sleeping better and through the night."

When she talked about the fundraising efforts that made the bed possible, Cathy Dobson started to cry.

Donations from churches and schools, individuals and businesses totaled about $38,000, as of last week.

The remanufactured bed cost $37,000, and the Dobsons had to pay $27,000 of it. Insurance covered the rest. Donated funds that weren't applied to the bed will be used for other medical supplies James needs, his mother said.

"I never in a million years thought we would have raised that money in a short period of time," she said. "It's overwhelming. The community has just embraced James with their hearts. We're a Christian family, and we just believe God touched people's hearts because he knew James needed this bed."

Soon after an Oct. 30 story about James ran in The Free Lance-Star, people offered donations of medical beds that were similar, but not as specialized, as the kind the teenager needed. School groups and churches held events to raise money for him, and Cathy Dobson learned that individuals made large donations, anonymously, to his bank account.


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