'Products for Peyton' turns family's pain into awareness

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David James is turning his son's tragedy into a lesson for others (KTRK)

It was not just any Christmas delivery at Houston's Ronald McDonald House Monday.

Swimmers from College Park High School in The Woodlands are unloading boxes and boxes of toiletries, all of them donated for families in crisis.

"It's the people who've walked that walk who truly understand what gifts like this mean," said Mikki Donnelly with the Ronald McDonald House.

This is a story about one of those families -- Assistant Coach David James' family.

"I didn't expect this," he told Eyewitness News.

He organized the toiletry donations on behalf of his son, Peyton, who died in October.

"He was always the smallest one in his class," said James of his 13-year-old son, "But he had a huge heart. He loved people. He was a pleaser."

Peyton, suffering from depression and the frequent target of bullies, killed himself in his bedroom after school.

"I don't hide the fact that he took his own life and I'm not going to either," explained James. "I want people to be aware that suicide is a very serious thing."

James does not want his suicide to be without a lesson.

"I don't want any other kid ever to have to feel that that is their solution," he said.

It is especially true this time of year -- a time of anniversary and family and renewal -- he wants Peyton's legacy to be how his son lived.

His stepmother, David's wife Lisa, says the donation drive, called Products For Peyton, is a big part of their healing process.

"We just want to be able to have something good come out of a horrible, horrible situation," she said.

As for those donations, why did the James family choose Ronald McDonald House?

Because as his Peyton clung to life in a hospital bed, David and his wife had no place to stay. They found shelter at a Ronald McDonald House.

The know what it means to have a place like this in the midst of crisis.

"I loved him more than anything," said David through tears, "and now he's gone."

If you're interested in getting involved with Products for Peyton, a Facebook page has been set up here.

Related Topics:
familysuicideThe Woodlands
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