John Farnham’s son reveals health struggle as his iconic father emerges from his own challenges

Jan 17, 2024
Messages of support quickly flooded in from near and far, many praising James' bravery in sharing his story and raising awareness. Source: Getty Images/ Instagram:@jimbofarnham.

John Farnham’s son, James, has bravely stepped into the spotlight to share his own personal health battle just as his legendary father triumphs over his own challenges.

The news comes on the heels of Farnham Sr.’s triumphant recovery from a courageous battle with mouth cancer, speaking to the family’s strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

Taking to Instagram, James shared that as his dad battled cancer he underwent “major surgery” in 2023 following a diagnosis of diverticular disease that caused a perforation in his bowel.

“The surgery saved my life but it has left me with a stoma  – a surgically created opening in the abdomen that allows me to poo…into a temporary colostomy bag. With any luck I will be receiving my reversal surgery in the next couple months,” he explained.

“Hindsight is a funny thing and it’s the reason I feel ready to share this personal story now. I can see now that this whole situation may have been preventable. So I hope that by sharing my story it might help other young people like me to take better care of themselves and take proactive steps to get checked when something doesn’t appear to be right. I was totally shocked to learn how many people (including young people, I can’t stress that enough) receive this diagnosis.

“Coming off the back of what felt like a torturous period that left us emotionally exhausted. It was one thing after another, and when I noticed something felt wrong I kept ignoring it.

“While I felt unwell for a while the whole thing happened very quickly in the end and I didn’t have much time to comprehend what was happening. After the surgery I dealt with fear, isolation, disgust, paranoia and something I’ve never had before – body image issues.  I’ve had to go through a huge psychosocial adjustment.”

James closed out his important message by thanking those who helped him navigate this difficult period in his life in addition to the medical staff who provided life-saving treatment.

“I can’t end this post without saying a huge thank you for literally saving my life to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and therapists at Cabrini Malvern hospital in Melbourne. Spending all that time there making me feel comfortable, laugh and kick my butt when needed,” he said.

“I also wouldn’t have been able to do any of the last 6 months without my family’s help and especially my partner Tessa. You really are my heart and soul boo and I love you so much.”


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A post shared by James Farnham (@jimbofarnham)

Messages of support quickly flooded in from near and far, many praising James’ bravery in sharing his story and raising awareness.

“Oh James what a wild year for you guys, I love how you can make this a positive experience and help others along the way. Absolute legend,” one fan wrote in support.

“Thank you for sharing your journey, it takes a lot to do that.”

“Oh my gosh I’m so sorry to hear you went through this Rob and very happy you are recovering and going to be ok,” shared another.

“Good on you for being brave to share! There is no shame, you did what you had to.”

With James’ recent health problems and his superstar father’s prolonged battle with cancer, it has clearly been a difficult time for the Farnham clan recently.

However, some good news emerged just in time for Christmas last year when pictures were released  of Farnham enjoying time with his family.

The heartening update came in the form of a candid photo posted by James on Instagram, capturing a precious family moment during their Christmas celebration.

In the first photo shared online since Farnham’s cancer diagnosis in August 2022, his wife Jillian stood beside him, wrapping her arm around him as they shared a smile.

“Merry merry to everyone! Hope you all have a safe and fun day!!!! Love yaz all!” James wrote.

In addition to the encouraging festive post, the You’re the Voice hitmaker announced earlier in the year that he had finally overcome his cancer battle.

“It’s been a year since my first surgery and to be honest I’ve lost count as to how many other procedures there’s been since then,” Farnham told his fans at the time.

“I’m sure someone’s kept track of them all – let’s just say, there’s been a few. But, I’m home now and I’m a very grateful and happy man. I’m sitting here in my living room lapping up the attention from my beautiful wife, Jill, my boys Rob and James and my mini Schnauzer, Edmund.

“It’s only now that I can start to appreciate and comprehend, for myself, how many messages of love and support have been sent to me over the past year. I don’t know what to say, other than thank you so very much. It honestly means the world to me. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write and send a message.

“Today is a special day. And I’m going to mark it by having a pizza – because I can! I can’t wait to see what might be next on the menu. Bring on 2024.”

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