Image: Sunday Night/Channel 7
Former Home and Away star Tessa James says she used to look at actresses who were experiencing personal hardships and think, ‘Well, I don’t have a story. My life’s really great.’
Now, almost one year after being diagnosed with cancer, the 24-year-old has a story of her own — and tonight, she shared that story publicly for the first time.
In an emotional interview with Channel 7’s Sunday Night, James reflected on her battle with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a rare blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. There are around 550 diagnoses of the condition in Australia each year.
“Yeah, I have a story now,” James, who left her role as Nicole Franklin on Home and Away in 2011, told Sunday Night. “No one should have to go through that.”
In 2014, James had been living in Los Angeles, where she'd moved to pursue a Hollywood career, for just a few weeks when she began to feel unwell. She'd often experience cold sweats and nightmares. "I wasn't myself," she recalled.
She eventually found a large lump on her neck, above her collarbone, and had a feeling something wasn't right - a feeling that was shared by her parents, who urged her to fly home for testing. A biopsy in September revealed her cancer, and James moved home to the Gold Coast be with her family, including her NRL player husband Nate Myles, and undergo treatment.