James Tessier

Stage IV Lung Cancer

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James Tessier's Bio

James “Jim” Tessier was born in Natick, Massachusetts in 1954; the youngest of five siblings. When Jim was five years old, his parents moved the family from Massachusetts to Wheaton, Maryland in pursuit of a better life. From an early age, Jim displayed a knack for overcoming obstacles large and small, beginning by forcing himself to lose his New England accent to avoid being made fun of in school. His next major obstacle would come at age eighteen when he was admitted to the hospital with a severe case of breathing difficulty. Jim’s health quickly deteriorated as doctors were stumped and unable to pinpoint the cause of his lung failure. While being transferred to another floor at the hospital, Jim underwent an emergency tracheotomy in the elevator. In light of his rapidly deteriorating health, a priest was summoned to read his last rights. Remarkably, instead of leaving this earth at eighteen, Jim survived and overcame what the medical field later discovered and named, “Legionnaires’ disease.” Jim had a lot of life left. He married, moved to Adamstown, Maryland in 1989 and raised two children as he worked as a transmission specialist for over twenty five years.

Jim’s greatest obstacle would come in January of 2015 during a visit to the doctor to diagnose the cause of a pain wrapping around his side. It was then that the doctor found a tumor near the spine and a biopsy confirmed it to be Stage IV lung cancer. The doctor’s gave Jim no more than six months to live. The debilitating pain and diagnosis meant that Jim could no longer work. Though Jim’s wife Marcia worked, Jim was the main bread-winner in the family. As such, the family’s financial stability swiftly declined. Neither Jim, nor Marcia wanted to accept the estimated life expectancy. Thus, Marcia got to work and arranged a second opinion at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia, PA. CTCA acknowledged that they could help.

With the love for and from his family and true determination, Jim began his fight with cancer at CTCA. As Jim acknowledged the odds stacked against him and the seriousness of the battle ahead, he wished to accomplish three things, despite the obstacles. First, he wanted to meet his first grandchild. Second, he wanted to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Third, he wanted to see his daughter graduate college. After months of radiation, chemo and a host of treatment related side effects, Jim made it to complete remission in April of 2016. Tragically, in December of 2016, the cancer returned with a vengeance, quickly spreading from his chest to his bones. Despite beginning a second round of treatments at CTCA, Jim passed away on January 20, 2017. As for Jim’s three wishes, he accomplished them all. However, for his wife and family the financial struggle continues.