Star Trek’s JAMES VAN OVER needs OUR HELP to afford home care during treatment for BRAIN CANCER…

If you don’t know the name JAMES VAN OVER, SR., then you haven’t been reading the credits for Star Trek: DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, Star Trek Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, or Nemesis very carefully. Or maybe you didn’t look closely enough at the dedication plaques of the Enterprise NX-01, Columbia NX-02, Enterprise-B, or U.S.S. Defiant seen in DS9‘s “The Die Is Cast.”

Of course, those plaque names very often matched the Star Trek credits as a way for the creators to “sign their work” and honor those dedicated people putting their heart and soul into making this show that we all love so much.

James Van Over joined the scenic art department team under MIKE OKUDA at Paramount in early 1994, just as TNG was wrapping, DS9 was finishing season two, Voyager was ramping up, and Generations was in pre-production. Mike was super-busy and needed a new graphic artist to help make all of those LCARS displays and animations and anything else that needed to adorn the many, many sets that the various Star Trek series and movies featured.

In fact, one of the people Mike offered that job to was me (I turned it down…here’s the story of that decision). But a couple of months later, Mike hired Jim, and he ended up working on the ensuing Paramount Star Trek series and movies until Enterprise was canceled in 2005. Jim also worked on the STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES episode “To Serve All My Days” (the one starring WALTER KOENIG as Chekov and written by DOROTHY FONTANA).

I first met Jim at the “SAVE STAR TREK” rally at Paramount when he and many others on the production crew and writing team came out to see hundreds of Trekkies with picket signs protesting the cancelation of Enterprise. Jim and I got to talking, and when I learned of his job title and hiring date, I said, “Oh, you got the job I turned down.” And he replied, “Then I need to thank you for my house!”

A man in his sixties with two grown sons—Jim, Jr. and Jason—Jim, Sr. is wonderful, warm, and very funny guy. We’ve remained friends ever since meeting that day at Paramount, even going to Disneyland together a few times with other local Trekkers…

Van Overboard!

It was during his time working on Star Trek that Jim met the love of his life, NIKI ROSENBLUM DeMAIO, a wonderful woman who shared Jim’s life for two magical decades before tragically passing away last summer. But just as Jim was finally beginning to get over her loss (at least a little), he was taken last Friday to the E.R. with with mobility issues.

While at the hospital for several days, Jim had countless tests, an MRI, and a brain biopsy (his scalp looks like Dr. Frankenstein worked on him!). Unfortunately, a malignant tumor was found, and Jim is going to need some serious treatment, the details of which are still being determined.

Jim has insurance that will help pay for the course of cancer treatment, but with significant mobility problems, insurance will NOT cover home installations like railings for bath and toilet access nor in-home assistance such as house cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. And right now, because of union negotiations with production studios slowing things in Hollywood, Jim isn’t working at the moment and has no money coming in to cover those unexpected expenses.

For these reasons, Jim and his sons have set up a GoFundMe page with a goal (for now) of $10,000…

I’ve just donated $50 myself, but I told Jim that I’d post a link to the campaign here on Fan Film Factor…relevant both because of Jim’s long-time work on Star Trek as well as his participation in the early days of modern Star Trek fan films.

But really, I’m posting this request because Jim is such an awesome person, a good friend, and he’s really scared right now. He tries his best to put on a positive and happy face, but he’s also been posting to Facebook at 3 am after getting middle-of-the-night blood pressure tests and needing a nurse help him not fall in the bathroom. There’s not many ways to sugarcoat stuff like that.

No one deserves a brain tumor or the fear that comes with it, but James Van Over is truly one of the very, very good people of this world. So whether you help for that reason or because you’re a fan and appreciate all that Jim has given to Star Trek over the years, I invite you to join dozens of Trekkies and others who are helping to make this difficult time just a little less uncertain for Jim.