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Liberty Grad, Cancer Warrior Inspires Millions on America's Got Talent': 'I'm There to Give People a Gift'

Michael Foust | Contributor | Thursday, June 10, 2021
Liberty Grad, Cancer Warrior Inspires Millions on America's Got Talent': 'I'm There to Give People a Gift'

Liberty Grad, Cancer Warrior Inspires Millions on America's Got Talent': 'I'm There to Give People a Gift'

A Liberty University graduate wowed the judges and earned the “Golden Buzzer” on NBC’s America’s Got Talent Tuesday after performing an original song that had Simon Cowell in tears.

“Your voice is stunning – absolutely stunning,” Cowell said after Liberty grad Jane Marczewski, 30, sang an original song, It’s OK, that sparked a standing ovation. 

The song, she explained, is the “story of the last year of my life.” Marczewski is battling cancer. During her most recent medical checkup, she said the doctor found “some cancer in my lungs, in my spine and my liver.”

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy,” said Marczewski, whose stage name is Nightbirde. 

Moments later, Cowell hit the Golden Buzzer, which automatically advances her to the competition’s semifinals. Marczewski fell to her knees in disbelief as confetti showered the stage. 

A YouTube video of her performance has tallied more than 6 million views and was the No. 2 trending video on the platform Thursday. 

Judge Howie Mandel also was impressed. 

“That felt like the most authentic thing I’ve heard this season,” he said. 

Before the song, she told him, “It’s so important that everyone knows that I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me.”

Wearing a smile, she said she has a two percent chance of survival.

“But two percent is not zero percent. Two percent is something. And I wish people knew how amazing it is,” she said.

Terry Crews, the host of the show, told her, “You are the voice we all need to hear this year.”

“I expected I’d go out and do my best and try to keep the mindset I’m not there to impress people,” she told the Newark Advocate. “I’m there to give people a gift. It helps me not be so nervous. With all I’ve been through, when you come so close to death, it kind of changes your perspective, and you’re not afraid of anything.”

Marczewski was profiled in 2019 in the Liberty Journal. She graduated from the Christian school in 2013.

On her website, she discusses her faith and her battle with cancer. She titled a March 9 blog post, “God is on the Bathroom Floor.” 

“I remind myself that I’m praying to the God who let the Israelites stay lost for decades,” she wrote. “They begged to arrive in the Promised Land, but instead He let them wander, answering prayers they didn’t pray. For forty years, their shoes didn’t wear out. Fire lit their path each night. Every morning, He sent them mercy-bread from heaven.

“... Call me cursed, call me lost, call me scorned. But that’s not all. Call me chosen, blessed, sought-after. Call me the one who God whispers his secrets to. I am the one whose belly is filled with loaves of mercy that were hidden for me,” she continued. “Even on days when I’m not so sick, sometimes I go lay on the mat in the afternoon light to listen for Him. I know it sounds crazy, and I can’t really explain it, but God is in there – even now. I have heard it said that some people can’t see God because they won’t look low enough, and it’s true.”

Photo courtesy: America's Got Talent

Video courtesy: America's Got Talent

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.