From the death of “America’s Got Talent” contestant Jane “Nightbirdie” Marczewski to “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts announcing her partners breast cancer diagnosis, here’s what’s happening in the cancer space this week.
Singer-songwriter Jane “Nightbirdie” Marczewski, 31, dies four years after cancer diagnosis
Jane “Nightbirdie” Marczewski auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in June with a performance of an original song, “It’s OK.”
After revealing to the show’s judges that she had cancer and a 2% chance of survival, she proceeded to wow everyone in attendance with her original song. Judge Simon Cowell hit the golden buzzer, which allows a contestant to advance directly to the live show portion of the competition.
However, in August she announced via Instagram that she would have to leave the show as her health was getting worse.
Announcing her death in a statement, her family wrote, “We, her family, are devastated by her passing and unimaginable loss. Those who knew her enjoyed her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. ... Her lasting legacy will be the gift of hope she gave to so many through her music and the strength she found in Jesus.”
Amber Laign, partner of “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, has breast cancer.
Roberts, who was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in July 2007 and later received a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012, announced that her long-time partner, Laign had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The prognosis, according to Roberts, is good. She noted that she will step away from “Good Morning America” from time to time to support Laign.
During an interview with CURE® in 2018, Roberts spoke about her cancer experiences and what advice she has for others.
“We all have an inner strength that we don’t realize,” she said at the time. “If somebody had said to me years ago, ‘You’re going to have cancer, you’re going to go through it twice, and you’re going to be told you have a year or two to live,’ I wouldn’t have expected to have the strength to deal with that. It’s funny how a lot of people say to someone going through this, ‘You’re so brave,’ because the last thing you feel is brave. But then you realize that — you know what? — we all are just a little bit stronger than we think we are.”
A child with an inoperable brain tumor receives thousands of valentines.
Maggie DeVries, 5, of a Chicago suburb has received more than 6,000 valentines from admirers across the world.
DeVries was diagnosed with intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare and aggressive brain tumor, in January and the valentines were just a sample of the outpouring of love she has received over the past month.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles sent a video to DeVries and a GoFundMe for the family has amassed close to $200,000.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we expect the outpouring of kindness that we’ve experienced,” DeVries’ mother Erin said in an interview. “There are so many nice people in our community.”
DeVries’ tumor is in a part of the brainstem which is responsible for bodily functions such as breathing and therefore takes surgery off the table. DeVries has enrolled onto a clinical trial at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
“Jeopardy!” champion announces she was receiving cancer treatments during auditions
“Jeopardy!” champion Christine Whelchel recently announced during Wednesday night’s episode that she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer during her auditions.
"I was diagnosed in March of 2021, and one of the first things I did a couple of weeks after being diagnosed was take the ‘Jeopardy!’ test. And I ended up getting my audition the night before my surgery in May,” she said to host Ken Jennings.
Whelchel went on to become a two-day ‘Jeopardy!’ winner on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, and will go on to play tonight, Feb. 25.
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