“I want to show people that we are all capable of amazing things. You have to dream big and have big ambitions and you can achieve your dreams.”
Rainmaker ambassador, cycling’s 7-day world record holder, and two-time cancer survivor, James Golding, has won the 2018 Pride of Birmingham Award for Fundraiser of the Year.
To date, James has raised over £3 million pounds for UK cancer charities.
In February 2009, as he was being rushed into emergency surgery, doctors told James’ family that he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. Eight years later, he broke cycling 7-day world record with a distance of 2,842.4 km (1,766.2 mi) between 19–25 June 2017.
In November 2008, doctors had found an 11cm tumour wedged between James’ spine, kidney, and bowel. By the time of his surgery, he weighed six stones, he couldn’t walk, and he was given a less than 5% chance of survival. Following his operation and after two weeks in an induced coma, James started his long road to recovery.
Having rebuilt his body and relearnt how to walk, James borrowed a bike and started cycling around his local reservoir, aiming to go a little further each day.
He has gone on to ride across the US, Mexico, Spain and France, pedalled from London to Paris six times, as well as John O’Groats to Land’s End. He has completed the gruelling Haute Route, across the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites, eight times — more than any other Brit.
There have been setbacks. Whilst riding across America in 2010, he was hit by a truck and ended up in hospital with three broken ribs and a smashed elbow. In 2011, after returning to complete his ride, his cancer returned.
“It was a really tense time,” James admits. “There were a lot of risks, and it took five months to find a surgeon who was prepared to do the surgery. I remember meeting him, and him giving me a look, and saying ‘I don’t want to do this operation’.”
Medics finally agreed that surgery was his only option, and two weeks after the tumour was removed his son Freddie was born. That was another miracle — James and his wife Louise had been told that they would never have children.
Now James, who does inspirational talks around the UK, has been cancer-free for six years and is undergoing annual check-ups to monitor his health. He continues to challenge himself. In 2019, James intends to compete in and win the Race Across America, the toughest bike race in the world.
“The more days I endure and the further I get into it, the more I come to life,” he says. “I want to plant the seeds of thoughts, and let them grow.
“Now I’m encouraging people to take on challenges themselves.”
James’ story is living proof that anything is possible, you just need to take it one step at a time.