James Robert McDowell, 19, who had a genetic disease requiring multiple surgeries to remove tumors from his nerves, required round-the-clock nursing care but found his niche upon moving to Oregon's Center for Medically Fragile Children at age 14. McDowell, who died on Monday, acted as a big brother to 57 children there with profound disabilities and befriended many at the nearby high school, from which he graduated in June with a special award for making the school a better place. "He has a huge circle of people he has touched," said social worker Kelly Schmidt. "He really was able to bring out the goodness in people by his attitude. He was never one to say, 'Why me?'"

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