“I’ve not got enough hours!” Volunteer radio presenter dedicated to charity work despite horrific ongoing cancer journey

It would be hard to fathom a more tumultuous last six years than Cassie James’.

By Jack Marshall
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 12:22 pm
Cassie James
Cassie James

In August 2016, the mother-of-two was diagnosed with bilateral stage-four breast cancer before doctors also discovered a lesion on her brain. During treatment, they also diagnosed a melanoma on her foot, leaving her on crutches for four months during chemotherapy.

Also undergoing stereotactic radiosurgery, Cassie had bilateral lumpectomies, nodes removed from her armpits, and an elective hysterectomy to avoid any potential future health complications. A year later, another melanoma was discovered on her groin, caused by what was now stage-four skin cancer, and, following surgery, she developed lymphedema, which is a painful build-up of fluid.

Despite her misfortune, however, Cassie is delightful company.

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Cassie James with her daughter Stacey Wright

"When they told me about the cancer, I was in shock,” says Cassie, 60, who attended Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. “Your brain is going at 100mph and the first thing I said was 'am I going to die?' I felt like I’d been dumped on a desert island.

“There was noise like a jar of pennies being rattled as your brain tries to come to terms with everything,” she adds. "I'd been going to the doctor's for about six years about this thing on my foot and kept saying 'is this cancer', so I felt so let down. The pain... It was like treading on Lego but times a million.

“Everything was difficult,” Cassie continues. "It was the most awful time of my life. I was lucky I didn’t get sick from chemotherapy, but I was so afraid of catching anything because my immune system was shot. It was a stressful time.

“But I get through it with a lot of dark humour because it’s the only way I can cope! It's about keeping my spirits up.”

Cassie on her birthday

A volunteer radio presenter with Mighty Radio Southport, Cassie’s work has been a godsend during treatment. She also took to charity work with relish, finding a welcome distraction from everything in helping others, pouring her efforts into raising awareness of Lancashire-based charities including Galloway's and The Bee Tree Community.

But, in May last year, the cancer unfortunately returned, necessitating a vicious form of chemotherapy called an isolated limb perfusion. Without it, she was unlikely to make Christmas. Treatment cost over £4,500 on top of aftercare and travel expenses, so Cassie turned to JustGiving, hitting her fundraising goal of £7,000 within 24 hours.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I felt humbled and overwhelmed - it chokes me up now. The outpouring of love was lovely.”

Now awaiting another operation to remove another melanoma in her leg, Cassie says: “The melanoma is about as big as a football and so painful – after 50 yards of walking, I’m done, so it’s put me in a wheelchair. I’ve not been out for months.

Cassie undergoing treatment at home

"Surgery will leave a massive hole, so they’ll reconstruct using flesh from my stomach,” she adds. “It’s a major operation with a three months-plus recovery time. But I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t have the radio and charity work because it’s totally taken my mind off everything.

"It’s an honour and a privilege,” Cassie continues. “I’m just passionate about making a difference and I’ve just got this amazing platform, only issue is I’ve not got enough hours on the show!”

Cassie James
Cassie James with former footballer John Barnes
Cassie with her son Jonathan