James' Story

James Clifford Campling was born 6th June 1988. He grew up in Healing, Grimsby and helped to raise money for charity from being a young child. James was dyslexic and dyspraxic and had to work hard for everything. His resilience was unrivalled.

At 17 years old, James decided to go to Malawi, Africa to teach as a volunteer for 3 months. He had classes of 130 teenagers and adults. In Malawi, he met a group of friends whom he would go on to travel with and become an extension to the family. This trip started his love of travel. He went on to travel 82 countries, including every country in Europe.

When James returned from Africa, he trained as a nurse at Nottingham University and found another group of amazing friends. His nursing career then moved into the RAF where he became an aeromed nurse. He flew around the world taking care of people and bring them back to the UK.

His Battle

In 2016, James had 2 seizures during a nursing symposium. He was told it was likely to be epilepsy but he asked for a scan as he thought he had a brain tumour. They refused. It then took 2 months for him to be given an MRI scan and to be diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme. A brain tumour that was incurable. He was 28 years old. James had his first awake brain surgery a couple of weeks later. This was a 7 hour operation - he was awake throughout. His operation was followed by 6 weeks of radiotherapy and 6 months of chemotherapy. Unfortunately for James, this did not work. He went on to have a second surgery and a second type of chemotherapy which again did not work.

During this process, we were constantly searching for trials but James was always unsuitable. The professors who we worked with and trial leads were very helpful. The research specialists and his surgeon encouraged James to keep pursuing trials. As time went on, James began having larger seizures and losing his ability to speak the words that were in his head. As a family, we learnt the best way to deal with this. He also became weaker and had major short term memory loss. Please look at our advice page for things we wish we had known.

In February 2018, James had a 2 and a half hour seizure. This put him back a lot and made his life a lot harder. The John Radcliffe Hospital were amazing and saved James' life. Unfortunately, James passed away on 10th April 2018. He was 29 years old.

James' charity work and legacy.

James had less than 2 years from being diagnosed until he died. During this time, he travelled with family and friends. He went to : Iceland, Russia, Khazakstan, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Norway, Greece, France, Italy, San Marino, Antarctica and Slovenia. He climbed mountains and swam in rivers. He made the most of the 2 years whilst going through treatment. 


In addition to making the most of this time, he was determined to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. Between himself and his friends they raised £30,000. Events included: 2 charity balls, climbing the Yorkshire peaks, Marathons, half marathons, triathlons and many more. James took part in as many of these as possible. He was an inspiration to everyone. Princess Alexandra presented James with an award for his charity work. Even while he was ill, he was determined to make sure everyone else was ok and would be ok after the inevitable. He is the reason that we can all carry on and continue to raise money to help others.


James was fortunate in that he had saved money and could do the things he had wanted to do. We realise that many people do not get this opportunity and we would like to help other families make memories.