NIXA, Mo. — When the Friday night lights shine in Nixa, Kicker Kaleb James is in the zone.
“My mindset on the field is a clear head,” James said. He is now a senior at Nixa High School. “I don’t really think about anything.”
Off the field, James is thinking of ways he can help other people while doing what he loves.
“If you ever get a chance to give back to your community, I’d always say take it,” James said. “It is always going to make you a better person.”
This year, James is raising money for cancer research through his campaign Kick It With Kaleb. After seeing Nixa alum Jaycee Fixsen beat cancer, he wanted to help others in their fight.
“Knowing Jaycee just through cancer and battled it off and then another girl in Ozark is going through cancer right now, I was like, ‘that would be the best way I could give back to the community,’” James said.
For every point James makes, he is asking people to donate to cancer research. His goal is to make 55 points this season.
“The number of people that are affected by cancer is crazy,” Coach John Perry said. “I have two people very close to our program that I’ve communicated with that have [cancer]. Anything we can do is very helpful.”
James said he even doesn’t feel any added pressure on the field knowing he’s kicking for more than just points.
“When we had our game last week against Neosho, like the first thing that came to my mind is, ‘I just scored 13 points and that’s going to be a lot of money going in to help raise money for cancer.’”
Coach Perry said he is grateful James is participating in this campaign.
“I think it’s a great example for our young people that we stay really busy but we can do little things that create big changes that are very influential in helping other people,” Perry said.
James is confident he will get 55 points by week five or six of Friday Night Football.
“I’ve already reached way further than I would have expected me to reach by week two,” James said. “It’s just been a really great experience. You’re going to help somebody else feel better and honestly, that’s what we’ve been put on this world to do.”
James’ points and donations are totaled on the Alex’s Lemonade Stands’ website, a foundation for childhood cancer.