After his cancer diagnosis, U.S. reggae singer is spreading a message of peace and optimism for others fighting cancer.
Bronte James and wife, Elisa James, started the reggae band Afro Omega in 2002. Four children and 12 years later, the couple is still performing at concerts and has recently finished a new album. However, their music came to a halt when Bronte began having severe stomach pain and was eventually hospitalized in March.
Doctors found a perforation on Bronte’s colon, but at first were unsure of what had caused it. They later found a large tumor and he was diagnosed with colon cancer on June 10.
“I was like, ‘No way,’ “ he said. “How could that be possible? For me, I didn’t think that could be possible at all. No one thinks that is going to happen, though.”
Bronte began doing radiation and chemotherapy during the summer months before the tumor was removed. He said that despite his diagnosis, Afro Omega still performed at a raido festival and did several other smaller shows. However, Bronte said the radiation burned him and made him sick so he cancelled the rest of their summer concerts.
While Bronte strongly believes in the conventional cancer treatments offered by his doctors, he said he wanted to try a more natural route of healing for a few months.
“I’m just trying to heal and relax and be good to my body and eat really good and be happy,” he said. “I’m at a point in my life where I need a healthy alternative and just want to make peace with my body. I want to change my life forever. With the position I put myself in and with this tumor, I really need a life change.”
Bronte said he has adopted a healthy diet and has started exercising to help restore his body. He said the cancer diagnosis has also made him re-evaluate his priorities in life.
“It’s brought my family a lot closer together,” he said. “It’s really exposed what we need and what we thought we needed. ... It has nothing to do with being a successful musician anymore. It has more to do with just being a good father and a good friend and a healthy person in my community. And that’s something I’ve always had -- it was a portion of my plate, but it wasn’t my whole plate.”
Although fighting cancer is stressful and exhausting, Bronte said he wants to bring hope for other cancer patients and he doesn’t want to consider it as a fight.
“There needs to be a little release and there needs to be some type of ‘hopeless romantic’ optimism that miracles do happen,” he said. “We are a powerful people. The human race is resilient. ... I don’t like to call it a battle or a fight because I believe with a battle and a fight, there’s a winner and a loser. And I don’t want to lose. I’m calling it a peacemaking mission with my body. I’ve been really trying to get that out there to people with cancer. Don’t fight. Chill (and) be happy. Be strong. You don’t have to be a fighter to be a strong, healthy, vibrant person.”
While Bronte is currently trying more natural, holistic treatments, he said he hasn’t ruled out surgery and continuing chemotherapy and he believes in “using every tool available.”
An online fundraiser has been set up to raise money for Bronte and his family to pay for medical expenses.
(Faith Heaton Jolley is a UVU graduate and currently works as head writer for ksl.com and runs the Outdoors & Recreation section. Contact her at email@example.com.)