MK-based DJ and promoter James Shiers has helped to set up a YouTube channel to help those diagnosed with MS. Emily Calder talked with him for Celebrate:MK about the project and more.
James Shiers is best known as ‘Jamesie’ – a DJ and promoter, now MK based, who has definitely left his mark on the music industry. He has had tracks promoted by Radio 1 and KISS FM, and been a tour resident for the Ministry of Sound, and had an excellent career as a promoter with ‘Lovin Life…’.
The man I interviewed has come a long way since then, having being diagnosed with MS ten years ago, and now has a different goal. Today James is teaching others what he has learned from ten years battling physical and mental health issues, with his YouTube channel ‘Jamesie and Friends’.
Having battled cancer at the age of 23, alongside ten years fighting MS, it is safe to say that James has been through a lot.
He has had to completely change his lifestyle from his DJ days, but says he has learned a lot in the process: “When I was diagnosed with cancer at 23 it taught me the importance of doing what you love and looking after yourself – life is just too short.”
Following his diagnosis, James felt helpless initially, but was inspired by those around him to pick himself up and exercise as much control as he could over his situation. Whilst MS medications only slow down the illness, James found that diet, exercise, mental wellbeing and a positive attitude were all key to improving his life and happiness.
James is reaching out to other MS sufferers, or anyone struggling with mental and physical illness, and encouraging them to take back some agency and approach their problems from a more positive angle.
‘Bodybuilding Mental Health’ is a key concept that James is promoting via his YouTube channel. Whilst he initially began the channel to advise on MS alone, in talking about his own journey he realised the importance of mental health within the MS community.
James has taken the positive ‘Lovin Life’ spirit that powered him through his DJ days, and is now making what he has learned over the years accessible to his community through social media. He says: “Healthy body, healthy mind. It’s that simple, and anyone can learn from that, not just people with MS. You need to be happy with your own thoughts, it’s a beautiful world out there!”
Having been a seasoned member of the MS community for a while, James has learned the importance of positive energy when battling health issues.
Having struggled to find the push towards positivity that he was seeking in MS groups, and the community at large, Shiers is keen to give the community something that he feels it could truly benefit from: “Nobody has ever helped themselves by moaning – and that’s not what I’m doing on my channel at all.
“Energy is important; happiness attracts happiness, and it’s been so key to me turning my life around and getting by”.
After finding supplements and mental health tips online, James is keen make a similar difference for others; he would not have gotten this far if others were not spreading the word. “I want to make what I’ve learned accessible,” says James, “I feel like I’ve learned so much on my journey and I others to learn from it as well”.
Although James feels that social media itself can be incredibly draining, he is harnessing it to encourage others to have a better relationship with their bodies, their minds, and the technology that they use.
“I want to use social media for the best,” he says, “I want to inspire people to get out there, make changes and live their lives. My content is pretty raw – I haven’t gone through every cut of my videos with a fine toothed comb, because life isn’t perfect”.
In starting important conversations with authentic, positive content, James is doing something rather magnificent. His key idea is ‘To help people help themselves’, explaining that the numbers don’t matter: “If I help one person then that’s enough. You may have a an hour left, a week, or ten years – you’ve just got to make the most of it and give yourself the best chance you can”.
James has taken what life has thrown his way, and has dealt with it with an admirable positivity. His channel is a refreshing reminder of how we can use social media for good; not only can the MS community learn from his experiences, but we can all take a leaf out of his book in making an effort to look after ourselves, and making the most of what we have.
James has interviews planned with many people who inspire him, including health and nutrition guru Jerry Brainum, so be sure to check out James’ channel ‘Jamesie and Friends’ to see what he has in store.