Wellington born James Roiauri is known to local haemotologists and hospital staff as Mr. 100percent. Passionate about inspiring people and encouraging others battling leukaemia and other serious diseases, James sends the strong message: 'When I am fighting for my life, whatever I believe, I must believe in it 100percent'.
James recalls a day like any other at work, when he began to 'see stars' and soon collapsed. Living in Sydney at the time, he thought he was simply low in iron as he was admitted to hospital. A few days later, James (then 34) was told he had acute myleoid leukaemia (or AML). He began his chemotherapy plan immediately.
'My world froze. There were a lot of tears and a lot of anger'. After the initial shock of diagnosis, James says it was his three fundamental beliefs that got him through. 'They are in this order 1) my Heavenly Father, 2) my family and ancestors and 3) the Incredible Hulk'. James had an aggressive form of cancer. 'I've been a fan of the Hulk ever since I was young and I knew the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes. So I felt the angrier my cancer gets, the stronger I will become...and bring the HULK SMASH!'
During his treatment, James was drip fed what he calls his 'bag of steak and chips'. James says laughter helps a lot, as he recalls his time in hospital. 'It's important to keep your spirits up and laugh often'.
James was later told he would need a bone marrow transplant to survive. When he was well enough, he returned home to New Zealand. It was then the search for a bone marrow donor began.
James had no matched donors in his family so the NZ Bone Marrow Donor Registry began a search for a matched-unrelated-donor (MUD). Fortunately, the NZ Registry soon found a suitable donor for James and he received his life-saving transplant later that year. 'I got my MUD-shake' he jokes, believing his bone marrow donation came from the Incredible Hulk. 'Everyday I wake up, I am thankful. I feel blessed to still be here, still standing'.
James moved on to study at the NZ College of Massage and enjoys being able to help people through his massage therapy. 'My drive is people. Being able to see a client happy and smiling after I have helped them is very rewarding'. During his treatment, James was too sick to attend the much anticipated family reunion in the Cook Islands. Thanks to his bone marrow transplant, James, who is now in full remission, is planning a long-awaited trip back to the Islands with his family.