ONE of James Austin’s biggest fears is that his seven-year-old sister might not remember him if he dies soon.

The 26-year-old’s voice cracks slightly as he remembers the huge weight on his shoulders over the past 18 months since he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

From initial headaches while on holiday in March 2016, James has had the massive tumour removed and outlived the average for patients with the same aggressive form of cancer.

And the horticulturalist will be preparing for the trip of a life-time to Japan thanks to an overwhelming community response at the weekend.

A garden fete organised in Dalmuir on Saturday brought together more than 250 people and raised £5,347.70 to pay for James’ trip. The rest will go to youth cancer charity CLIC Sergeant.

“Six to 14 months is the average survival rate with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery,” he told the Post at the party.

“I passed that. But then you’re waking up every day knowing you’re meant to be dead, wondering how long you have left. Every time you have a headache you worry.

“I’m just trying to have a normal life.

“One of my biggest fears is I’m so scared my little sister Skye will not know her big brother. I would just hate it if she didn’t have any physical memory of me.

“It’s just hard.”

James was in Amsterdam last March when he was having crippling headaches and was initially given painkillers at Drumchapel Hospital when he returned. A few days later his Clydebank GP gave him pamphlets for taking too many painkillers.

But on March 15 he was diagnosed with a tumour on his right frontal lobe and they quickly operated. On March 21, a tumour filling a quarter of his brain cavity, was removed.

The biopsy showed it was stage 4 Glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.

James underwent six weeks of chemo and radiotherapy and then left that behind, choosing now to use alternative medicine and lead as healthy a life as he can going forward.

He returned to work recently with a landscaping company and last week put in 60 hours, enough to earn him a disapproving look from his treatment team at the Beatson.

James picked up horticulture in school by accident – “it was in the same column as French and German” – and he has loved it every since.

But he also blames the pesticides he initially used in his career, and himself, for his cancer.

“Unfortunately I didn’t listen until it was too late,” he said. “I blame myself for it. It could have been avoidable. I don’t ever want to work with pesticides in my life.”

Keeping mentally and physically active is how James lives with cancer, from work to playing football to being with family and his girlfriend Katherine.

He’s considering running a 10k for the Willow Foundation, a charity that gives special days for seriously ill young adults, and who took him on an unforgettable trip to Anfield to meet Liverpool players earlier this year.

And he wants to raise more awareness of brain cancer.

“It just gets put down as ‘brain tumour’,” he said. “I didn’t know there were 300 types. I just thought I had cancer in my head and I’m f*****.

“It scares people. It’s one of the most deadliest forms. They can’t even tell you what causes it. There needs to be more research into brain tumours.”

Wilma Ford went to school with James’s mum Mary and along with other St Andrew’s High alumni organised the fete in her garden at the weekend.

She said: “What overwhelmed people was the generosity and kindness. We pulled this together in about eight weeks and people were tapping our door giving donations.

“This is about James’s family as well – we are all right behind them.”

The organisers spoke to the Beatson last week to confirm he could handle a trip to Japan and surprised him on Saturday with the decision of his upcoming destination.

In addition, CLIC Sergeant’s Marion’s House in Glasgow will be getting three leather bean bags for their “chill out” room from the funds. The charity drive will continue in the coming months to support CLIC and the Willow Foundation, including a Hallowe’en dance planned for October 28.

James’s girlfriend of four years, Katherine, 24, recently started working for cancer charity Maggie’s and hailed the community support for her partner.

She said: “It’s amazing to see how kind people can be just from the goodness of their hearts.

“It’s been overwhelming for James as well and it shows him how much people care and want to support him.

“When these things happen you adjust to it so quickly. It’s made me want to give more to people who have supported us.

“There are days when it’s really hard for us, because there’s no manual. James has dealt with it amazingly.”

James added: “People slag off Clydebank but when it comes to this, Clydebank supports its own. Clydebank has a community spirt.”

And now that he can look forward to a trip to Japan, he can imagine a break and an adventure.

James, now living in Old Kilpatrick, grew up in Cumbernauld and was living in Whitecrook when he was diagnosed and where he also played for Whitecrook and Duntocher’s football squads as well as Kelvinbridge Amateurs.

But he also understands losing people, such as fellow player 19-year-old Aaron Keenan who died in June near Kilpatrick rail station.

His arm is tattooed with “everybody dies, but not everybody lives” and he wants to live as long and happy as he can for his girlfriend, friends, and family including mum Mary and sisters Lindsay, 32, Ashley, 29, Skye, seven and his dad, also James.

“Everybody loses people,” he said. “I know a boy diagnosed with the same cancer as me, and a guy aged 50 with the same.

“There are people in worse situations than me. I didn’t see the point in sitting about feeling sorry for myself and feeling sad. I’m just trying to be as normal as possible.”

To donate to James’ CLIC Sergeant drive, visit