It was supposed to be the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dreaming. I had just completed the 3,000 mile journey across the country to continue a new job in South Lake Tahoe.

I remember as I crested spooner Lake Summit, into Tahoe with the vast Sierra Nevada pulled taught out in front of me, I couldn’t help but feel like my family had finally found a home.

This arrival day was ever more important because my beautiful wife, Amy, and three amazing daughters, Madelyn age 9, and twin girls,  Alison and Hannah age 5, would be landing at the Reno Airport to join me.

We had a gorgeous cabin style home in Meyers, California waiting for us, and I would be continuing on as the new Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Alliance (SNA).

The SNA job was a once in a lifetime opportunity for an environmental advocate and conservationist like myself. The fact that it was in my beloved Sierra Nevada made it seem even more incredible.

This was supposed to be our “happily ever after,” but it soon became our worst nightmare.

Something wasn’t right.  I couldn’t walk across the Reno Airport to meet my family without taking breaks and sitting at benches.  I’d been battling a terrible cough and swelling in my feet during the long drive in the moving truck and something was just “off.”

My wife Amy insisted that I go straight to the hospital. Immediately the doctor found what she described as a “rip-roaring” pneumonia, but that was just the begining. Upon further testing, I was also diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to my liver.  If I accept no treatment or chemo at all I have about six months to live. I’m told with aggressive radiation and chemo I could possibly give myself a few more years.

But those of you who know me, know i’m a fighter. This blog is about that fight. We the Ross family need resources, help, and your helpful wishes and prayers. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far! The two most important things people can do is make a donation at and/or sign up for my family updates on that same page.

thank you all

Jim Ross


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3 Thoughts on “Our Story: Making Fierce Hope out of Heartbreak

  1. Kerri Timmer on September 15, 2014 at 10:51 pm said:

    Oh Jim, I am so sorry you and Amy and the girls are having to face this. It must be so hard in a new place with so much of your support network back East. But rest assured, your Alliance family and the greater Sierra family have your back. I know people are already donating, and we’ll be there to do anything we can to help you guys and to help the Alliance as you work through this.

    With love, admiration and support,

  2. Bob Barrett on October 1, 2014 at 8:16 pm said:

    Jim and Amy,

    All of us in the Alliance family were so shocked and saddened by the news when we first heard it back in August and that seemed to get worse each day. I, too, am sorry that you, Amy, and your daughters are having to go through this.

    At the same time, I have been inspired by your courage, strength, and spirit. I cannot think of a more compelling picture of living wholeheartedly than seeing you in the hospital in South Lake Tahoe and later in Reno, surrounded by those who love you, focusing on the future despite the challenges.

    It is good to know that you are at home now, and that you will soon be back in the loving embrace of your extended family in Pennsylvania. Here in the Sierras, we will do all we can to be there for you throughout this ordeal.

    With love and fierce hope,


  3. Andy and Bootsie Mine on October 1, 2014 at 11:45 pm said:

    Jim, We met you here in Florida with your Mom and enjoyed a bountiful breakfast at the Breakers. We were so stunned when we heard of your illness and have been praying for your recovery ever since. We have added your name to the prayer list at St. John The Fisher Church. This is the most we can do at this time, but rest assured we will not forget you in our daily prayers. I, too, have just survived breast cancer and know the journey is such a paradox. It can be done!! Trust in your doctors, your treatment and in your faith! Our warmest wishes.
    Bootsie & Andy

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