Former contestant, Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbirde, a 30-year-old singer-songwriter and three-time cancer survivor, appeared on Wednesday. It was her first public appearance since announcing on Instagram Monday that she dropped out of the competition in order to focus on her fight with cancer after her health took a turn for the worse.
“Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve been curled up in a ball like a cocktail shrimp, having an A-plus pity party for myself, because it’s just been a bad, bad month. It’s been really, pretty devastating,” Nightbirde told host .
The singer, whose future on seemed bright after she moved judge Simon Cowell to tears and earned his Golden Buzzer back in June, shared how heartbreaking it was to have to leave the show early, when she beautifully explained, “I’m not a quitter. So it was really, really hard for me to say that I couldn’t finish the show. I got shocking news less than a week ago about cancer regrowth that has taken over my lungs and liver. So my liver right now is mostly cancer. More cancer than liver in there right now. But like I said, I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Some people would call that blind denial. I prefer to call it rebellious hope. And I’m not stopping anytime soon.”
Nightbirde stole viewers’ hearts around the world not only with her beautiful voice, but with all of the beauty and grace which she exudes from within. And on Wednesday, she also stole Cuomo’s heart.
“Have you always been like this,” asked Cuomo, after Nightbirde begged the question, “Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up? Don’t you want to see what happens? And that’s what I keep saying to myself and that’s what I say to everyone watching tonight. Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up?”
As for whether or not she has always been so wise beyond her years, Nightbirde responded, “I don’t know. I think 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. So no, I don’t think I was always this way.”
Cuomo asked Nightbirde if she ever asks “why me?” when it comes to her cancer battle, but Nightbirde eloquently stated, “I try not to occupy myself with questions that are too big for myself to answer. It’s a waste of time. You know, just because it’s a mystery doesn’t mean it’s the absence of meaning. Sometimes, the mystery means there is 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.” The CNN host was even more impressed after every one of the singer’s responses, as he praised her for “breezing through things” and taking “things on that would cripple the rest of us.”
“Not denying the pain of today and not denying the hope of tomorrow,” said Nightbirde. “And when you go through something that is so devastating, makes no sense, there are no answers, you kind of have the choice, like, am I going to become bitter, or am I not? You do have a choice, you know. You do get to decide what becomes of you in a sense and, you know, I’ve decided in my most painful moments to keep my eyes open because it’s easier. It’s easier to close your eyes and to give up and forget it but there is so much beauty and poetry to be seen in the world if you’re 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.”
Despite only having a two percent chance of survival, Nightbirde’s endless positive outlook on life convinces anyone who listens to her that everything is going to be okay. And on Wednesday, the singer said that when, not if, she finally defeats cancer for good, she intends on writing the most amazing record we’ve ever heard.
In response, Cuomo told her, “Well, I’ll tell you what, anyway that we can help you know we’re a call away. Anything you ever want to play for people, I’m happy to play it. As you know, that’s not what my show is about but you are worth deviation because I believe you’re exactly who we need to be. We all got to get a little bit of ‘Nightbirde’ in ourselves and remember how to live our lives. That’s what I believe you’ve taught me, that we got to remember how to live our lives.”
Cuomo Prime Time airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN.
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