This Henrico man has battled cancer 17 times and lived through horrific car crash

“I do know one thing. I won’t throw in the towel."
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Posted at 12:42 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 21:24:31-04

HENRICO, Va. -- James Gresham counts more than nine lives. The Henrico man’s life nearly came to an end last fall.

Along Darbytown Road James’ car was T-Boned by another driver.

“She was on the cell phone made a turn in front of me. I seen her coming. The first thing I said was ‘Oh my god,’” said James. “The car was smoking. I was pinned in. Couldn’t get out of the car. They used jaws of life to get me out.”

“When we went out there they had a sheet crossing it,” said James’s wife Charlene. “I thought my husband was gone. He was trying. He was not giving up. I knew he had that drive not to give up.”

James’s car was totaled, and so was his body. Months later James has made a full recovery.

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“I know I’m here for a reason. Here for a reason,” said James. “I do know one thing. I won’t throw in the towel. If there is something I got to go through here I am.”

James is used to surviving tall odds. In April of 2005 James began a journey that seemingly never ends.

“The tests came back and he said, ‘Yeah. Colon cancer,’ said James. “That is what it was. They’ll never get to the end of it till they get to the root of it. They don’t know where the root of it.”

The cancer moved through his body.

“My spleen. My pancreas. My diaphragm. Part of my stomach. Part of my rib. Colon. I was on life support,” said James.

“His eyelid. Twice in his neck. His thigh. His colon. His liver."

Despite surgeries and setbacks, James remains resilient.

“17. I’ve had 17 types of cancer in my life. 17,” he said.

Relying on doctors, faith and family members, like his wife Charlene.

“When the loved one is going through, then the entire family is going through,” said James.

He considers himself a medical miracle. “I’m blessed. I’m better than blessed. I am,” he said.

Through the years of pain Charlene never heard James ask ‘why me?’

“Every day I see his strength come back,” said Charlene.

He is a man who is staring down his cancer diagnosis. “I’m still here. By the grace of God I’m still here,” said James.

Never taking anything for granted. “I’m going to be here a long, long time,” he added.

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He counts his blessings as he survives another day.

“I may not have no money, but the love I have for people and I know the love that my family have for me I’m a millionaire. “

James said he is determined to beat his cancer. He said one day he has marked on the calendar is September. That is the day he plans on walking his daughter Jasmine down the aisle on her wedding day.

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Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email

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