Health

America’s Got Talent star who left the show because of cancer opens up about ‘devastating’ news

Former America’s Got Talent contestant Nightbirde, who earned a Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell before dropping out of the competition show due to her battle with cancer, has updated fans on the ‘devastating’ news she received about her health and her deteriorating condition.

Jane Marczewski, who goes by the stage name Nightbirde, amazed the America’s Got Talent judges and viewers alike when she performed a poignant original song for her audition in June — but less than two months later, she stunned everyone again by announcing that she had to quit because her cancer had ‘taken a turn for the worse.’

Now speaking to CNN‘s Chris Cuomo, Marczewski revealed that her liver is now ‘more cancer than liver’ and admitted she’s had a ‘bad, bad month’ since she got the news.

But just as she charmed viewers with her remarkably upbeat attitude on AGT, the 30-year-old demonstrated an admirably positive mindset on CNN, explaining how she manages to avoid feeling ‘bitter’ thanks to her ‘rebellious hope.’ 

Star power! Jane Marczewski, who goes by the stage name Nightbirde, got a Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell in June after performing an original song 

Candid: The 30-year-old has offered fans an update on her battle with cancer

Candid: The 30-year-old has offered fans an update on her battle with cancer

Marczewski, who hails from Ohio, became an instant fan favorite when she appeared on AGT in June, sharing the story of her cancer battle and singing an original song about being OK while feeling lost. 

She earned effusive praise from the judges, with the infamously tough Simon Cowell appearing to tear up before hitting the Golden Buzzer, sending her directly to the live shows/quarterfinals.

But last week, she announced that she was leaving the competition because her cancer battle had become too ‘demanding.’

Though she keeps a brave face, she admitted on CNN that she’s been having a hard time.

‘I have been curled up in a ball like a little cocktail shrimp having an A+ pity party for myself, cause it’s just been a bad, bad month,’ she said. 

‘It’s been really pretty devastating.

‘I’m not a quitter, so it was really really hard for me to say that I couldn’t finish the show,’ she said.

'I have been curled up in a ball like a little cocktail shrimp having an A+ pity party for myself, cause it's just been a bad, bad month,' she admitted

‘I have been curled up in a ball like a little cocktail shrimp having an A+ pity party for myself, cause it’s just been a bad, bad month,’ she admitted

'I'm not a quitter, so it was really really hard for me to say that I couldn't finish the show,' she said

‘I’m not a quitter, so it was really really hard for me to say that I couldn’t finish the show,’ she said

She received 'shocking news' about 'cancer regrowth that's taken over my lungs and liver'

'My liver now is mostly cancer. More cancer than liver in there right now,' she said

‘My liver now is mostly cancer. More cancer than liver in there right now,’ she said 

But about a week earlier, she received ‘shocking news’ about ‘cancer regrowth that’s taken over my lungs and liver.’

‘My liver now is mostly cancer. More cancer than liver in there right now,’ she said.

While she admitted that it was difficult, she continued to cling to optimism. 

‘But, like I said, I’m planning my future, not my legacy. And some people would call that blind denial but I prefer to call that rebellious hope. And I’m not stopping any time soon,’ she said.

‘When we’re going through stuff like this where, really, the pain is too much to bear sometimes, it makes no sense at all. If we can hold onto a dream for the future, sometimes that’s all we need to get through.

‘And I believe in dreams for all of our lives that originated in the imagination of God. And just think about, “Don’t you wanna see what happens if you don’t give up? Don’t you wanna see what happens?” That’s what I keep saying to myself,’ she went on.

‘When you’re faced with so many blows to the gut in a row — like I have over the past several years — you find out what you’re made of, in a sense. And you’re given the opportunity to choose what you want to become.

Flashback: Marczewski became an instant fan favorite when she appeared on AGT in June, sharing the story of her cancer battle and singing an original song about being OK while feeling lost

Flashback: Marczewski became an instant fan favorite when she appeared on AGT in June, sharing the story of her cancer battle and singing an original song about being OK while feeling lost

Optimistic: She holds onto 'rebellious hope' and thinks to herself, 'Don't you wanna see what happens if you don't give up?'

Optimistic: She holds onto ‘rebellious hope’ and thinks to herself, ‘Don’t you wanna see what happens if you don’t give up?’ 

She doesn't ask 'why me' because 'it's a waste of time' and insists 'you do have a choice' about whether or not to become bitter about misfortune

 She doesn’t ask ‘why me’ because ‘it’s a waste of time’ and insists ‘you do have a choice’ about whether or not to become bitter about misfortune

Standing ovation: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara gave Marczewski a standing ovation after her audition

Standing ovation: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara gave Marczewski a standing ovation after her audition

When asked if she ever wallows and asks, ‘Why me?’ Marczewski said she doesn’t bother. 

‘I try not to occupy myself with questions that are too big for myself to answer,’ she explained. It’s a waste of time. Just because it’s a mystery doesn’t mean it’s the absence of meaning. 

‘Sometimes the mystery means there’s more meaning there than we can even understand. And so I accept that and I let go of the questions because it’s too heavy,’ she added. 

‘When you go through something that is so devastating, makes no sense, there’s no answers, you kind of have the choice: Am I gonna become bitter? Or am I not? You do have a choice. You do get to decide what becomes of you, in a sense. 

‘And I’ve decided in my most painful moments to keep my eyes open, because it’s easier to close your eyes and give up and forget it. But there’s so much beauty and poetry to be seen in the world if you are willing to sign off on the pain that it takes to stay awake in the middle of something that hurts so bad. That’s all this is. Anybody can do it.’

The Ohio native says her 'cancer's gotta go,' and when it does, she will 'write the most amazing record you've ever heard in your life'

The Ohio native says her ‘cancer’s gotta go,’ and when it does, she will ‘write the most amazing record you’ve ever heard in your life’ 

Marczewski noted that while she is stepping back from AGT, she is not giving up her music. 

‘This cancer’s gotta go… which I really believe is gonna happen soon. And after that, I’m gonna write the most amazing record you’ve ever heard in your life,’ she said, adding that she has continued to write songs. 

‘I have so much beautiful stuff that I’m so excited to share, and I know that I will,’ she said.

She even shared lyrics from one tune ‘that means a lot,’ which has a chorus that goes: ‘I still got some magic in me, I can’t feel it but I still believe. The music stopped but I can still sing, I’m pretty beat up but I still got dreams.’

Marczewski had first revealed on stage at her audition that she had cancer of the lungs, spine, and liver. 

Brutal: Though she advanced, she announced this month that she had to drop out because her 'fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention'

Brutal: Though she advanced, she announced this month that she had to drop out because her ‘fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention’ 

Heidi's message: AGT judge Heidi Klum also shared Nighbirde's post on Instagram, along with a touching message of support

Heidi’s message: AGT judge Heidi Klum also shared Nighbirde’s post on Instagram, along with a touching message of support

‘It’s important that everyone knows that I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me,’ she said.

When Simon got emotional after her performance, she told him: ‘You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.’ 

But on August 2, she announced on Instagram that she’d had to quit.

‘Sharing my heart with the world on AGT has been an honor and a dream come true,’ she wrote.  

‘My point of view this summer has been astounding. What a miracle that the pain I’ve walked through can be reworked into beauty that makes people all over the world open their eyes wider.

‘Since my audition, my health has taken a turn for the worse and the fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention. I am so sad to announce that I won’t be able to continue forward on this season of AGT. Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it — but we knew that already. 

Breaks: 'Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it—  but we knew that already,' the singer said

Breaks: ‘Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it—  but we knew that already,’ the singer said

'Stay with me, I’ll be better soon. I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Pretty beat up, but I’ve still got dreams,' she concluded

‘Stay with me, I’ll be better soon. I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Pretty beat up, but I’ve still got dreams,’ she concluded 

‘Thank you for all your support, it means the world to me. Stay with me, I’ll be better soon. I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Pretty beat up, but I’ve still got dreams,’ she concluded.

AGT judge Heidi Klum also shared the post on Instagram, along with a touching message of support.

‘@_nightbirde we will miss your energy, your passion, and your beautiful voice at the live shows,’ Klum wrote. ‘The entire #AGT family loves you and we’re all rooting for you,’ Klum concluded, along with three red heart emojis.

Her fellow judge Sofia Vergara also shared the Instagram post, along with a message of her own.

‘Here’s to planning for a bright future @_nightbirde. Your energy, your smile, and your amazing voice will be missed at the #agt live shows, but we’re rooting for you and your big dreams!’ Vergara said.


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