Health: Cancer Killed My Dad and Brother.Then I Found out I Had It; Two Years Ago Birmingham-Born DJ Johnnie Walker Was Diagnosed with Cancer. Today He Speaks Frankly to Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN about How Overcoming the Disease Changed His Life - and Sparked Painful Memories

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), November 28, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Health: Cancer Killed My Dad and Brother.Then I Found out I Had It; Two Years Ago Birmingham-Born DJ Johnnie Walker Was Diagnosed with Cancer. Today He Speaks Frankly to Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN about How Overcoming the Disease Changed His Life - and Sparked Painful Memories


Byline: ZOE CHAMBERLAIN

WHEN Johnnie Walker was diagnosed with cancer, it brought back the pain of a double family tragedy.

The BBC Radio 2 DJ had lost both his father and his brother to the devastating disease.

But even Birmingham-born Johnnie admits he was initially struck with the 'it can't happen to me' syndrome.

'I'd just returned from my honeymoon with my wife Tiggy and I began feeling ill,' says Johnnie, 59, and a former Solihull School pupil.

'I thought I was suffering from a touch of Delhi belly and didn't think much about it to start with.

'But when I went to my GP, he referred me to a specialist. I was later diagnosed with nonHodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).

'It was showing as a tumour in my colon, which is unusual because the disease tends to show as a lump in your neck or underarm.

'When the tests began I had a sneaking suspicion it might be cancer. Both my father and younger brother died of it.'

But as he battled NHL - the third fastest growing cancer behind skin and lung - disaster struck.

While recuperating after a fourth course of chemotherapy last October, Johnnie's intestines burst and he was rushed to hospital.

'It was touch and go for a while,' he says. 'I had an emergency operation and I was in intensive care for a week afterwards. My weight dropped to eight stone and, of course, I was completely bald from the chemotherapy. 'Having to deal with cancer or any other life-threatening experience makes you realise there are no guarantees about anything in this life. It makesyou realise that you're very lucky. 'I don't think about my cancer every day but I do think of eachday as a gift. I now get outand do more rather than just sitting and planning and thinking about things.

'When you marry, you take vows saying for better or for worse. Tiggy got all the worst straight away. Being a carer for a cancer patient is a very difficult role and there's not much support for them.

'But this has definitely brought us closer together.'

Johnnie bravely returned to air on Radio 2 in March.

'It was quite a challenge but I was given tremendous support by the BBC and my listeners,' he says.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Health: Cancer Killed My Dad and Brother.Then I Found out I Had It; Two Years Ago Birmingham-Born DJ Johnnie Walker Was Diagnosed with Cancer. Today He Speaks Frankly to Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN about How Overcoming the Disease Changed His Life - and Sparked Painful Memories
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?