James Dubois, a current player with the Comox Valley Kickers RFC has defied all odds. In 2020, James was diagnosed with cancer in his spleen which he subsequently had removed. A spleen will usually weigh less than a pound, but James’ spleen was so enlarged that it weighed approximately 7 pounds when removed through surgery.
Not long after his spleen was removed, he found out that the cancer was very aggressive and was attacking his other organs, namely his kidneys and his heart. The heart is made of connective tissue and muscle cells that do not turn over very fast which is why heart cancer is extremely rare with an incidence rate of 0.002%.
James did several rounds of chemotherapy. His body reacted well to the treatment, and he was in remission.
One year ago, James was once again in a hospital bed at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, now in a cancer coma with a brain tumour that was attempting to spread. He was on death’s doorstep.
With a strong will, he began chemotherapy again and eventually had a stem cell transplant in June of 2022.
On Saturday, January 28th, 2023, everyone at Cumberland Village Park witnessed something special. James – now 53 years old – stepped on the rugby pitch and played his first game of rugby after having beaten cancer twice. Low and behold, as he wore the black and maroon for the Comox Valley Kickers, he played against Richmond RFC, the club from his hometown that he had previously played 20 years with.
It was a beautiful day for rugby and the camaraderie shown from both teams was a sight to be seen.