‘You Can Do This’: Former ‘AGT’ Contestant Nightbirde is Determined to Live Her Best Life Despite Terminal Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Published Sep 24, 2021

Sydney Schaefer

Positivity is Key

  • Nightbirde is determined to not let her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis get her down; “I’m alive,” she reminds herself.
  • In 2019, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and was told she only had three to six months to live. But she surprised doctors with her strength, and she’s still fighting today.
  • Like Nightbirde, breast cancer survivor Ashley Saaranen maintained a positive attitude despite shouldering some of the most devastating news a person can hear — a cancer diagnosis.

Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbirde, is determined to not let her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis get her down; “I’m alive,” she reminds herself.

But despite her perseverance, she has to remember that she’s capable of forging down the daunting road ahead.

“Hi. I’m alive and in the grass. I can breathe. I hate life and also love it. I tell myself ten times a day, ‘It’s ok, you can do this.’ We are winning even if I can’t exactly prove it. And that’s all for now. ☀️ #seejanewin #nightbirde #cancersurvivor,” the former America’s Got Talent contestant posted to Instagram on Thursday.

 

 

On Aug. 2, the 30-year-old singer announced on social media that she was withdrawing from America’s Got Talent due to her declining health. The decision we’re sure wasn’t an easy one, but Nightbirde’s strength throughout her cancer battle has inspired all of us.

Related: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Frontrunner Nightbirde Withdraws From the Show as Her Health Worsens Amid Breast Cancer Battle

She’s had a meteoric rise since she first appeared on America’s Got Talent. She’s even drawn the attention of actress Selma Blair, American Idol season six finalist Melinda Doolittle, actor Terry Crews and even Madonna’s longtime manager Guy Oseary, who noted how impressed he was with her singing.

Nightbirde earned a Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent (each judge can press their Golden Buzzer only once during the season) for her performance in June. She then watched as the song she performed soared up the digital singles chart, eventually reaching the number three spot in less than 24 hours.

Related: Disappointed Former ‘AGT’ Contestant Nightbirde Says She’s ‘Rebelliously Hoping For Better Days Ahead’ As She Reflects On Missing The Show Due to Advanced Cancer Battle

Nightbirde’s Breast Cancer Battle

Nightbirde began her battle with breast cancer in 2017 when a 4-centimeter tumor was discovered in her breast. She underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy — a surgery to remove the breasts — for treatment.

But her world turned upside down on New Year’s Eve (which also happens to be her birthday) in 2019; she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Her doctors discovered multiple tumors on her liver, lungs, lymph nodes, ribs and spine. She was told she had three to six months to live, but she surprised doctors with her strength, and she’s still fighting today.

Nightbirde was young when she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer — just 29 years old. Women don’t typically begin to undergo regular mammograms until they turn 40. Dr. Ann Partridge, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, tells SurvivorNet that about 260,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States.

Aggressive Breast Cancer in Young Women

And about 11,000 women aged 40 and younger are diagnosed with breast cancer annually in the country — a small percentage of that 260,000. But in some ways, she says, a diagnosis for a younger woman can often be even more devastating because the cancer is likely to be a more aggressive form, and at an advanced stage. This is because screening for younger women isn’t standard.

“Young women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer that is more aggressive,” Partridge says. “Their disease is more likely to be of the subtypes of breast cancer, because breast cancer isn’t one disease — the ones that are more aggressive and tend to be what we call a greater stage. That is, they’re more likely to have bigger tumors and more likely to have lymph node involvement at diagnosis than older women.”

Related: Former ‘AGT’ Contestant Nightbirde, 30, Keeps Spirits Lifted On Wine Cruise During Stage 4 Cancer Battle; The Importance of Living Life Every Day

Positivity is Key

Like Nightbirde, teacher and breast cancer survivor Ashley Saaranen maintained a contagious positive attitude despite shouldering some of the most devastating news a person can hear — a cancer diagnosis.

But Saaranen tells SurvivorNet that she couldn’t have done it without her amazing support system.

“There’s such a support system around me and I am incredibly lucky,” Saaranen says. “I have a wonderful family, I have wonderful friends and I have a wonderful school community that has supported me like crazy, and I’ve never felt scared.”

‘Life is Still Really Good’: Teacher and Breast Cancer Survivor Ashley Saaranen Shares Her Advice

Saaranen’s positive attitude has followed her into remission; she says her advice to other people going through cancer is to simply believe in yourself.

“You can do this.” — the same mantra Nightbirde tells herself every day.

“There are so many people around you that are here to help you and you just need to open yourself up and accept the help,” Saaranen says. “Also, know that you’re still going to be you, and life is gonna go on. Life is still really good.”

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Sydney Schaefer is a writer for SurvivorNet. Read More