Cancer sucks. Every year in the United States, 72,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer, equating to one diagnosis every seven minutes. One of these young adults is Caly Bevier. She is a seventeen-year-old, stage-3 ovarian cancer survivor who shared her story of strength with thousands when she auditioned for the TV show America’s Got Talent. There, she provided a message of hope and determination to those navigating similar situations – all without a single voice lesson.
Bevier was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June 2015. She was in remission by the end of August that year, and auditioned for America’s Got Talent in March 2016. Though she never really took singing seriously growing up, after encouragement from friends and family, she decided to take the leap.
“My friends kept saying I should audition for America’s Got Talent or American Idol,” Bevier says. “I was scared to and didn’t really want to. But I felt like I might as well do it because the future was unsure [after battling cancer].”
Before the show, Bevier had received no formal vocal training. She started singing when she was a little girl and typically would sing songs from Annie, or by Green Day or Boyz II Men. Her start in singing was rather playful and casual. During our phone interview, Bevier pleasantly recalled her mom making up songs the two of them would sing while doing daily chores around the house, like washing the dishes.
Before her audition for America's Got Talent, Bevier was completely unfamiliar with what the golden buzzer signified until twenty minutes before she went on stage. Simon Cowell hit the buzzer after Bevier sang, signaling that she would go straight through to the live shows from the initial audition. America’s Got Talent steered Bevier in the direction to pursue a professional music career.
Taking a break from recording her first album, she will perform at CancerCon this weekend located at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel. CancerCon, produced by the nonprofit organization Stupid Cancer, is a four-day event to advance the needs of young-adult cancer survivors ages 15 to 39, along with their caregivers and doctors. Over the four days there will be yoga, speakers on topics such as self-care and money management, and ample opportunity to connect and socialize with fellow survivors. Bevier is excited to participate in the event and perform for some of her peers.
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“A lot of cancer events tend to have an older audience,” Bevier says. “This is my first year going, and when I got on [the CancerCon] website and read the first few sentences, I thought it was freaking sweet. I could relate so much. With my performance, I know there will be talking time, and I want to get it out there that young people aren’t alone in their fight.”
Since her diagnosis, Bevier has made a conscious effort to make every opportunity count, whether she is hanging out with friends or writing songs. Throughout her diagnosis and recovery, she has turned to music as both a therapeutic and a creative outlet.
“Having cancer changed me a lot. I feel more mature than seventeen years old,” Bevier explains. “My outlook on things now is to go for it and not be lazy.”