"Miracle" guitar player performs at AZ Bike Week

Posted at 5:56 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 20:56:11-04

Jimmy Ellis wasn't supposed to perform at Arizona Bike Week this year.

In fact, the veteran guitar player for the local rock band TRIBE wasn't supposed to be here at all.

"It's been a long, long hard road," Ellis said. "I woke up blind in my right eye. They found out I had a tumor in my face."

Squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer that develops in the skin. Doctors told the 54-year-old in January of last year he had between three and six months to live.  

He didn't believe them. But he was scared.  

"I just wanted to do little things like go to the store, get a Coke and a burger," he said.

Chemo and radiation took their toll. He couldn't eat, lost weight and aged faster.  He had to sit out Arizona Bike Week 2015, a big disappointment because the band was supposed to open for Stone Temple Pilots.

He went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment, expecting disappointing news.

"The doctor had run the MRI, CT scan and PET scan.  He sat me down and said 'Jimmy, the cancer is gone, you have no more cancer,'" he said. "It shocked me, my mom, my girlfriend. We were all crying. Then he said it was a miracle I was alive."

Ellis believes he has more work to do on Earth. He's now planning a rock and roll event to raise money for cancer research.  

"I often ask God why he put me here. Now I know," he said. "To be a miracle is an amazing thing. To hear it from a doctor, you don't hear that from doctors."