An Eternal Spirit
- America’s Got Talent sensation Jane Marczewski, now known to the world as Nightbirde, won over millions of hearts with her original song “It’s Okay” while fighting stage 4 breast cancer.
- Although Jane tragically lost her battle in February at age 31, her family has dedicated their lives to continue spreading her legacy and artistry in the form of her song and poetry.
- Breast cancer can often be more aggressive in younger women, which is unfortunate, because screening for younger women is not standard. Younger women are more likely to have bigger tumors and more likely to have lymph node involvement at diagnosis than older women. Talk to your doctor today about your family history with breast cancer and specifically ask about genetic testing.
Most importantly, they continue to share Jane’s courageous spirit to help lift up others.Read More
On October 13, 175 landmarks across the 50 United States, along with cities in Canada and Ireland, lit up world-renown places like One World Trade Center, Niagara Falls, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with colors of pink, teal, and green. The three colors—created and trademarked by METavivor—symbolize hope, immortality, healing, and spirituality for people living with advanced stage breast cancer.
Even nearly a year after her death, Nightbirde’s story continues to inspire, and the family has committed to keeping her special light alive, which is the greatest honor that we can do to our fallen angels.
“It hasn’t even been a year, you know, since she passed away. And everything’s just still such a blur. But, you know, from a family, like from a family side of things, you know, I think we’re all handling it as well as we can,” Mitch shares.
“And it’s nice for us to have a new mission too that carries us forward past her death,” he says. “I think that that’s really helpful for us, knowing that all the work that we’re doing now and us moving forward, like our lives have been fundamentally changed and, but they’ve been changed in a way that’s gonna help, you know, gonna help other people.
Along with continuing to publish Jane’s music, they also plan to release a book of her unpublished poetry next year.
“Jane’s poems were born out of darkness, but they bring so much hope and so much light in that art and I’m really excited to share that with the world too because Jane was just so profound in that way and the circumstance she walks through created that, that beauty, you know, that’s going to go on forever.”
“Jane’s story is really a universal one,” Mitch says, adding that “it is a message of hope and inspiration,” a reminder to not let the overwhelming nature of your fear and anxiety about the future to define how they react today.
Losing a Best Friend
Not only did Mitch lose his sister, but the two were best friends. Jane often expressed on Instagram how supportive her big brother was during her time of need; he even shaved his head as she lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment.
View this post on Instagram
“Jane was just really in tune with her body. She was in tune with the way that she was emotionally,” Mitch described of his sister, who was very much an old soul. “Jane had this ability to have a hope for the future, but it wasn’t candy-coated. So if you read her blogs and stuff like that, she was very open and honest about her reality. She was really open, honest about how she was feeling and what she was going through and all of the difficulties that she was facing.
With over 48 million views on YouTube, her inspiring work caught the eyes and ears of legends such as Stevie Nicks herself, also one of Nightbirde’s musical idols.
When asked how his sister handled anxiety and depression while living with cancer, Mitch takes the opportunity to share Jane’s perspective on taking life one day at a time, which he finds can be useful to so many, whether you are facing cancer or other physical/emotional hardships.
“Taking things on a day-to-day basis really frees you up to live, you know, a more free life because there’s so much of tomorrow’s worries that steal today’s joy,” he expresses.
Overall, “cancer didn’t crush her faith,” Mitch says, “and it didn’t crush her as a person. And it didn’t crush her hope, you know, for a future. Instead, she had a hope that was beyond this world for her.”
But at the same time, Jane didn’t just pretend like all the bad things that were happening to her weren’t happening.
“And that ability to almost have permission to say ‘what I’m going through sucks, but I’m not gonna let what I’m going through be the thing that defines my day or my future.’ And I, I think that’s something that Jane’s story hopefully, you know, can inspire.”
Mitch says that they will be repackaging and producing many of Jane’s songs to keep sharing with the world, which is what Jane wanted most. To share her gift of song.
“So we’re gonna continue to release that music and we even have voice memos and stuff like that of Jade singing songs that we would love to be able to get out into the world [very] soon,” he shares.
“Her songs continue to inspire hope … I’m just running into people in airports and stuff like that who talk about her song, ‘It’s Okay.’ And in that song, that’s the one that they tell themselves. ‘It’s okay, it’s okay. Like, it’s okay that I’m walking through this, you can go to be okay.'”
Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at Age 29
Jane 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 was also 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 the fighter surprised doctors with her strength.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reports that breast cancer mostly occurs among older women, but it is possible for women under the age of 45, like Jane, to be diagnosed with this type of cancer.
In fact, about 9% of all new breast cancer cases in the U.S. are found in women younger than 45. Jane was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at just 29 years old.
Dr. Ann Partridge, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, discussed the aggressive nature of breast cancer in younger women with SurvivorNet during a previous interview. Additionally, since screening for younger women is not standard, there is a larger risk of having a much more delayed diagnosis.
“Young women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer that is more aggressive,” Dr. Partridge said. “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.”
Talk to your doctor today about your family history with breast cancer and make sure to ask about genetic testing.