Couple Wants Giraffe Named In Honor Of Their Son - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Couple Wants Giraffe Named In Honor Of Their Son



    Sunday is the last day to enter to name a new baby giraffe at the Dallas Zoo and a Dallas couple hopes to name the female giraffe Jamie in honor of their son James.

    His love for giraffes started out with a song his mother, Kara Sikes, used to sing. Then, came the stuffed animals, and a trip to the zoo.

    "The giraffes came up to you and he just got a kick out of it," said Kara.

    So, when James Camden Sikes ended up in the pediatric ICU with a rare and aggressive brain tumor, giraffe gifts started pouring in to comfort the 7-month-old and his family.

    Cancer Stricken Child's Name May Live On

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    A Dallas family wants the Dallas Zoo's new baby giraffe to be named after theirs son "Jamie" who passed away from cancer.
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    "We ended up with a whole room of giraffe things, and it became sort of a theme for him," said Kara.

    At 8lbs, 1 oz, James was born a perfectly healthy little boy.

    "He was just the happiest baby," said Kara.

    Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images

    "I mean, from the moment we brought him home from the hospital he had these bright eyes and just took the world in," said Kara.

    It wasn't until he was 7-and-a-half months old the diagnosis came; a rhabdoid tumor was consuming his brain.

    "Shocking. I mean, we just, were not prepared," said Kara.

    Surgery removed 95 percent of the mass but two weeks later, it was back and worse than before.

    "They had never seen that sort of progression before," said Matthew Sikes, James' father.

    Chemotherapy was an option, but would have been painful and only prolonged his life by a few weeks.
    "The other option was to take him home on hospice and surround him with love and make him comfortable," said Sikes. "So, we talked about it that entire night, and we decided about four in the morning that we were going to take him home."

    For three days Kara and Matthew never left their sons side. On July 16, James died.

    A few days later, on the other side of town, life was just beginning.  A baby giraffe was born at the Dallas Zoo.  Now, a contest to get to name her seems the perfect way to honor baby James.
    "It would be a legacy for him. Something we would always have," said Matthew.

    "Ten, 15, 20 years from now, we'd be able to go to the zoo and see Jamie the giraffe," said Matthew.

    Submitting a Name to the Dallas Zoo

    Entries to name the baby giraffe need to be postmarked by 11:59 pm., Sunday, August 21, or the form can be dropped off with zoo personnel during a visit. To submit a suggestion, click here.

    The winning name will be announced on Sept. 2 and the winner will receive a family trip for four to San Diego Wild Animal Park in California.

    Hundreds of people have suggested the name Jamie, but the decision will ultimately be up to the giraffes caretakers.

    More:Dallas Zoo, James Camden Sikes Fund for rhabdoid tumor research