Less than a year after being named a finalist on American Idol, alternative rock/pop singer Jax received some heartbreaking news...she had cancer. At only 20 years old, Jax was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April 2016.
After keeping the news off of her social media accounts, Jax finally opened up about her cancer battle during an interview with My Central Jersey. She said that both during and after Idol she experienced a wave of health setbacks and was always exhausted. While grocery shopping with her parents, Jax discovered a lump on her throat, and they encouraged her to go to the doctor to have it checked out.
That doctor's visit led to Jax being diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease, which is a type of hypothyroidism. She had a total of 18 tumors on her thyroid, and when the biopsy results came back they revealed that 12 of the 18 were cancerous:
"It took a lot for my family to toughen up and go through this with me," she said. "It was very unexpected. When you're 20 years old, you have this 'Superman' entitlement mentality. Like you're indestructible. And sometimes all it takes is God telling you it's time to take a break for you to understand that you are most certainly not."
Jax underwent surgery to remove her thyroid and several lymph nodes, and has also been undergoing radiation treatment in New York. She said her doctors are "optimistic" she'll make a full recovery, and she is thankful for everything they've done for her.
Like her doctors, Jax is optimistic about what the future has in store. She has made plans to participate in the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon on November 4, which has been something she's wanted to do for years. Through her JaxPack fundraiser on Crowdrise, Jax is helping raise funds for the marathon's charity partner, Tuesday's Children, which is "a response and recovery organization that supports youth, families, and communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss."
The organization was founded following the September 11th attacks, and is one Jax holds close to her heart. Her own father served as a first responder during the attacks.
Jax said everyone thinks she's "crazy" for wanting to take part in the marathon, but for her, it's the way to show that she isn't going to let cancer bring her down.
"I am a very theatrical person, so crossing that finish line on November 6 is what I want to do," she said. "To officially prove I can kick this thing's ass."
If you'd like to donate to Jax's fundraiser for Tuesday's Children, you can do so and learn more about the organization here.
We'll be praying for Jax to make a full recovery so that she continue making music and doing what she loves. Tune in below to watch her sing with Steven Tyler during her time on Idol.
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