Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories on area cancer survivors as the date nears for the 2013 Relay For Life at James B. Abraham Stadium. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26. It concludes at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 27.

My name is Chris James and I am a one year cancer survivor.

On Dec. 27, 2011 I was diagnosed with colon cancer, and on Jan. 4, 2012, I had surgery to remove the colon tumor. By this time, I had been told that the cancer had metastasized to my liver and lungs. Though it took a short while for this news to “sink in,” God’s Amazing Grace and Peace almost immediately engulfed me and filled me with the “Peace that passes all understanding.” From that day forward, I have never looked back, asked “why me” or fell into the abyss of self pity.

My original treatment plan started February 1, 2012, and was for a weekly treatment for 24 months or 104 treatments. At treatment No. 52 in February 2013 my tumors had started to reduce in size and my doctor announces “your miracle has begun”.

My advice to others is don’t wait for the statistical time to have cancer screenings. I was waiting for the magical age of 50 to have my first colonoscopy only to find out at age 49, it was already too late.

As one of the members of the planning and entertainment committee of the first Relay for Life in Lonoke several years ago, I understand even more now how important the Relay is. Not only does it provide funding for research and patient care, it provides a support system for victims, survivors and caretakers.

With God’s Grace, loving spirit and the prayers of friends like all of you, I have been lifted above and beyond what could have been a debilitating circumstance, but instead has been an amazing journey of faith.

Thanks to my caretakers — my wife Karen and our sons Madison and Christian — I am not only surviving, I am thriving.