By: Tiffany Wong
In February 2021, Sheri Shaw-James, a former high-risk obstetrics nurse, discovered she had a rare form of cancer, known as squamous cell carcinoma of the rectum. Around the same time, she had begun a relationship with Bill James, whom she had met on an online platform in 2020. Despite her diagnosis, Sheri wanted to end the relationship with Bill so he could continue with his life. However, Bill chose to remain by her side and support her through her battle with cancer.
Shaw-James traveled 1,200 miles to seek treatment at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. There, she underwent testing and was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. The medical team at the hospital, led by her radiation oncologist, Emma B. Holliday, and her oncologist, Van Karlyle Morris, provided her with radiation, chemotherapy, and infusion chemotherapy, according to the Washington Post.
Despite feeling exhausted, Shaw-James was determined and brave throughout her treatment. She developed a strong friendship with her radiation oncologist, Emma Holliday, and trusted her completely. The oncologist, Dr. Morris, also encouraged Sheri to search for her biological family. Sheri's chemotherapy treatments led to her experiencing nausea, fatigue, and vertigo.
Sheri and her doctors, Dr. Morris and Dr. Holliday, worked together as partners in her recovery. After completing her radiation treatment, she celebrated being cancer-free by ringing the hospital bell. She expressed her gratitude to Dr. Holliday with flowers. Sheri was officially declared cancer-free in June 2021.
In January 2023, Bill proposed to Sheri, and they decided to have her doctors present at their wedding,. The doctors' hard work and dedication made the wedding a special and emotional moment for Sheri, especially when they walked her down the aisle. The couple now lives together in Seven Springs, N.C., and Sheri will always feel a special connection with the people who gave her a second chance at life.