Jim Little: cancer to the tune of survival

Jim Little is a support group junkie. Or he might prefer the term self-help enthusiast. Either way, he is a cancer survivor who has found tremendous positivity in the power of connecting with people, and he’s passionate about sharing his story to help others – especially other brothers.

“I belong to four different cancer support groups: the Wellspring Men’s Group, a GI Cancer support group run by Tom Baker Cancer Centre, My Gut Feeling run by the Stomach Cancer Foundation of Canada, and a U.S. based group called Man Up To Cancer,” said Jim. “Support groups are a wonderful tool – there is research to back this, talking is helpful for cancer survivors. I especially enjoy the conversations with men. Men typically have a habit of pushing their emotions down and not reaching out for help, so when we do, we really tend to relate well.”

Another survival tool for Jim is his guitar. Since being diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of the stomach in 2019, he has found solace in the magic of composing and playing. “Throughout my cancer journey, music has been my favourite place to go – a place where time stands still,” he said. “For the past few years I’ve been very focused on creating, writing, producing, playing and recording. I’m kind of a one man band – I play and record all the parts of my songs myself.”

Jim was proud to be selected as a candidate for ‘Cancer Can Rock’ a non-profit organization that offers musicians facing aggressive cancer an opportunity to join other professional musicians in a studio and record a song they have written.

Listen to Jim’s interview with Cancer Can Rock founder, Jim Ebert, a multi-platinum record producer and a cancer survivor himself. In the interview, Jim shares his cancer experience, and introduces the song he would later record with the band. “I was number 39 of 40 musicians who were given this opportunity by Cancer Can Rock,” said Jim. “It was such a privilege to perform my song with these gifted musicians.”

Listen to Jim’s song – Cry Me a River (choose YouTube Music Video).

The Up Side

Jim is now three years past a radical cancer surgery that included complete removal of his stomach, spleen and several lymph nodes. He made it through the many rounds of chemo and emerged 70 pounds lighter and deeply impacted with neuropathy in his hands and feet. But at 73, and with the help of music and support groups – Jim is an optimist. “My last cat scan and blood work was normal – I’ve been cancer free since my surgery.”

Words to Live By

“Get involved with Wellspring, there are tons of good free resources there for you. Get involved with other support groups too, there is value in reaching out and connecting,” said Jim. “I also think therapy is very beneficial if not necessary, because let’s face it, for many people depression and anxiety are a part of the cancer journey. The sooner you get help the better off you’ll be.”

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