MT. SELMAN, TX (KLTV) - It was an East Texas style benefit for a child battling brain cancer. Barrel racers from across the region raced to raise money for James McMinn, 8. The Run for the Gold event took place in Mt. Selman on Sunday, and rodeo champs dashed to the finish line to help this special little boy.
He was the champion of the day.McMinn was diagnosed with brain cancer in July. His father, James McMinn said, "It's pretty devastating. It definitely changes your life."
James and his family are from Georgia, but they spent this weekend in East Texas as barrel racers dashed to raise money for him. Sharon Groves is James's aunt and says she organized Run for the Gold to help the McMinn family with medical bills. "After I heard about it in July, I said, 'Barrel racers are the best group of people to come together when there's a need.' I said, 'We can do something for them,'" said Groves.
James's father says the 8-year-old had severe headaches and dehydration last year. At first, the doctors treated him for the flu virus, but quickly found out it was something more. "That doctor said it looked like something other than Autism was going on upstairs just by looking into his eyes. That's when they found two tumors on his brain," said McMinn.
98% of the tumors are gone, following an operation and several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. James will continue the treatment for another year. His dad said, "Having to be in Atlanta for weeks at a time, it puts a strain."
The McMinns are thankful for the support of the East Texas community. "People that I don't even know have actually accepted him as their son too, and it's great," said McMinn. It's a community helping his little boy stay in the saddle.