Harborough couple raise awareness of kidney cancer

James Dixon with his daily dose of drugs.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
James Dixon with his daily dose of drugs.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

It wasn’t the ideal start to married life for Market Harborough couple James and Rebecca Dixon.

Just four days before they were due to be married, James was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney.

“I’d had severe back pain, and I’d said to my wife - my future wife - that something wasn’t right” said James (43).

“We were on the way back from a weekend in the Cotswolds, so we called in at A&E in Warwick, and it all started from there.”

The diagnosis arrived just four days before the couple’s longed-for wedding in a Costwolds church.

“It was a massive shock” said Rebecca (35). “James asked me if I still wanted to marry him. But I’d waited 30 years to find my prince. I wasn’t going to ditch him because he’d got ill.”

Kidney Cancer Awareness Day is this week, which is why James and Rebecca are telling the Mail a little of their story.

More than 10,000 British people are diagnosed with kidney cancer every year.

The adjustments for James and Rebecca began immediately after the wedding - they had to cancel a planned honeymoon to Sorrento in Italy.

And in the two-and-a-half years since his marriage, James has spent five months in hospital.

Surgery has left his stomach looking as if he has been “bitten by a shark”.

But the couple have also got on with their lives. James has kept working, as sales and marketing director for Clan Ceramics. Rebecca works for Charlotte Frances hair in Market Harborough.

And the couple have a young son - 17 month old Brody - and another baby due in July.

James admits he has “a lot of bad days” and he has endured some gruelling treatment as doctors fight to halt the spreading cancer.

His immunotherapy treatment gives him side-effects of diarrhoea, vomiting, blisters from head to toe and arthritis.

He’s still not out of the woods, but he says: “You have to man up and get on with it.”

“The baby’s due in July, and i’m pretty confident James will be here then” said Rebecca. “But we have to live our life in three month blocks.”