NIXA, Mo. – Nixa High School kicker Kaleb James is raising money for childhood cancer research through his performance on the field.
The Eagles’ senior told The Heartlander he’d been looking for opportunities to serve others when Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer reached out to see if he’d be interested in a fundraising campaign for childhood cancer research.
The mission of the national Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation – named after a girl who raised money for the cause from age 4 before succumbing to the disease in 2004 at the age of 8 – is to help children battling cancer through funding research, supporting families, raising awareness and empowering others to join the fight.
“I thought, ‘What better way to help give back to my community than to raise money for childhood cancer research?’” Kaleb said. “Children who have cancer are probably fighting the biggest battles they will ever fight in their entire lives. If I can help a kid who is struggling with cancer to fight that battle and win, and to still have the rest of their life to live, then why wouldn’t you take it?”
Kaleb’s campaign is appropriately named “Kick it with Kaleb.” The 4.5 star rated kicker says his peers and their families have been 100% on board and are happily making donations to his cause.
Those who wish to donate can choose a certain amount of money to pledge for every point Kaleb scores under the Friday night lights. If someone pledges $1 for each point, then $1 would go to the campaign for every successful extra point. If Kaleb were to kick a field goal, Alex’s Lemonade Stand would receive $3 toward his goal.
The kicker’s original goal was to raise $2,500, but the state’s No. 4-ranked Nixa Eagles are only in week four of their schedule and Kaleb has already raised nearly $900 – so he increased his goal to $4,000.
Kaleb was actually a soccer player but converted to being a football placekicker his sophomore year, which has led to his receiving several college recruitment letters. He hasn’t made a commitment yet, but says he plans to continue kicking field goals to fundraise for childhood cancer research throughout his collegiate career.
“I’ve always been raised to be a leader. When we got our new football coach two years ago, he preached being a servant leader. It kind of changed my mindset, and ever since then I have looked for ways to serve others instead of just serving myself. When you help other people, it makes them feel better and it makes you feel even better.”
Kaleb also hopes to get the next line of kickers at Nixa interested in starting a campaign with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
“Kaleb is going above and beyond with his fundraising for cancer, and we are so proud that he is representing himself, his family, our team and our community in this manner,” Nixa Head Coach John Perry said.
To donate or follow Kaleb’s points and donations, visit Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s website here.