Former Rice golfer James Ragan died in Corpus Christi, Texas, Monday at the age of 20. Ragan battled with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, since the age of 13.
Ragan played in two seasons for the Owls, appearing in three events. But his biggest impact may have been off the course, where he founded Triumph Over Kid Cancer, a foundation that raised more than $750,000 through donations and events. The money was raised with the goal of finding treatments for orphan diseases, diseases that have not been adopted by pharmaceutical companies.
Duncan College master Luis Duno-Gottberg met Ragan before while he was a student at one of the 11 residential colleges that make up Rice.
“The day he withdrew from school, he came to say goodbye, and he then engaged in a conversation about politics and philosophy. He was quite a remarkable young man,” Duno-Gottberg said. “In spite of the difficulties he was going through, he always put on his best face and was supportive of other people all the time.”
Joe Beck III, a junior on the Rice men’s golf team, tweeted today: “Playing for you today buddy #giddyup.”
The team wore orange ribbons on their hats in honor of Ragan and held a moment of silence today at the Rice Intercollegiate, where the team placed fifth.
Ragan’s reach extended beyond Rice’s team. He was friends with junior golfer Scottie Scheffler, who dedicated his 2013 U.S. Junior victory to Ragan.
A remembrance will be held at Duncan College Feb. 21. Ragan is survived by his parents, Jim and Gloria, and his sister, Mecklin.