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In Remembrance


Jim Hess

Jim Hess, 36, who fought a brain tumor for eight years, passed away May 14, 2009, at his home in Raleigh, NC.

Formerly of Leawood, KS, Jim battled courageously and with dignity. He will be remembered for his huge, infectious grin, quirky sense of humor, kind heart and strong belief that tomorrow will be a better day. In death, he was surrounded by those who loved him.

Originally diagnosed in January 2001 with a grade III anaplastic astrocytoma tumor, Jim underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatments. Only part of the tumor was removed. However, by November 2001 Jim’s headaches recurred as the tumor became resistant to the chemotherapy. Another surgery resulted in removing the entire remaining tumor. More chemotherapy followed.

In early 2002, the tumor became resistant to the chemo treatments again. The oncologist referred Jim to the Brain Tumor Center at Duke in Durham, NC. Every two months, Jim and wife Michele flew to Duke to visit the doctors and undergo an MRI.
Jim encountered no relapse through the next several months and in November 2003, Jim received outstanding news; the tumor was continually shrinking and chemotherapy stopped. Doctors declared Jim in remission.

The Hesses moved on with their lives during the next four years. Jim became well enough to volunteer several hours a week. By May 2006, he got a part-time job at a local grocery store working 20 hours a week. During this time, the Hesses also began to think about the future. They applied for a Vietnamese adoption.

In January 2008, the Hesses moved to North Carolina where Michele accepted a new position. Jim went to the Brain Tumor Center at Duke in February for his routine MRI and unfortunately it revealed the cancer had returned. He underwent a third surgery and more chemotherapy treatments. Jim fought the brain cancer for another 15 months.

Jim is survived by his wife, Michele Alishahi of Raleigh; mother, Karen Hess of Prairie Village, KS; father, Jerry Hess and stepmother, Donna of Las Vegas, NV; brother, John and sister-in- law, Tami and nieces, Kate, Lauren and Annie of Leawood.

He graduated from Blue Valley North High School and Kansas State University where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

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Jim Hess