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Bowman mayor inspires perseverance

Life long Bowman resident Lyn James has quite a few impressive titles under her belt. James is a true Bowman local, and she has many defining accomplishments that prove it.

By Frank Turner

Her involvement in her community has lead her to not only become a successful business owner, but also the mayor of Bowman.

James, however, has another title just as life defining as business owner and mayor. James is a cancer survivor. Although “Cancer Survivor Lyn James” is not something she puts on her business card, her experience with the disease was truly life changing. 

In 1987, at the age of 27, James was diagnosed with cervical cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for women in America, and it has the potential to be deadly.

“I was told I would never have any more children,” she said.

For James, her diagnosis left a lot of uncertainty, especially at such a young age. At the time of her diagnosis, Lyn James and her husband Gordon James had one child and wanted more.

“Mentally you think about the ‘what ifs’,” said James. “My husband was very strong and positive, like he always is.” 

When she was diagnosed, James used her faith and community as a way to get through the trying time.

“I really leaned on my faith. Fortunately my parents had taught me that at a young age,” she said.

Luckily, the hospital caught the cancer in an early enough stage that it was non-life threatening.

According to James, she had a successful surgical procedure to remove the cancer and the recovery was quick. The procedure was so successful that Lyn and her husband were still able to have a second child, despite what she was told.

Today, Lyn and Gordon have two daughters, Madeline James and Kasey Burke.

“I’m very fortunate and very grateful,” said James. “To think that maybe I wouldn’t have my second child is really sad, so I’m very happy to have both my girls

James said that after her bout with cancer, her perspective on life became more positive. Riding her Harley motorcycle is one of her favorite hobbies, and she expressed that it’s important to not take simple moments for granted. 

“It made me a more grateful and humble person. It shows that life can change quickly,” she said.

James reflected on her diagnoses as a learning experience. She said that getting past the cancer, owning a business, and becoming an elected official was all part of the life journey.

“It teaches you to be compassionate to people who are going to similar hard things.”

James said that for those who are experiencing a similar struggle, they should stick to their faith and embrace a supportive community.

  “Lean into your faith, and if you don’t have faith, find some. Embrace the people who reach out and want to help you, whether that’s a meal, a hug, or a kind word. Don’t be afraid to take the help.”