Jason Hanold was in his kitchen when one of his sons said, "Dad, your picture's on TV." Not only that, but Carson Daly was talking about Jason's story during a new "Fan Spotlight" segment during the (just slightly popular) TV show "The Voice." Then his youngest son, age 5, asked if he was up next to sing. That wouldn't have ended well, Jason suggests. But he was happy to talk about how the show and his cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic have come together.
Jason's moment went something like this: "This week's Fan Spotlight: Jason H. from Kenilworth, Illinois," host Carson Daly said. "He told us he schedules his cancer treatments at Mayo Clinic to coincide with our show because he says it gives him great courage. He and his four sons look forward to 'The Voice' each and every week because they get a lot of inspiration from watching our artists perform."
It turns out that Jason was the show's first fan in that spotlight. And there's a story there. But first, let's get to his Mayo connection. On Jan. 12, 2015, Jason, age 47, was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma back home in Illinois. It started with a trip to the ER, after which doctors removed a section of his small intestine because of an obstruction, when they discovered the lymphoma. Local doctors wanted to watch and wait to see how the cancer progressed. Being inclined toward action, Jason sought a second opinion. And third and fourth. Mayo Clinic impressed.
His first visit to Mayo was Feb. 1, with Thomas Habermann, M.D. "I loved how Mayo took charge, with determination to validate the initial diagnosis," Jason says. He also appreciated the thoroughness, noting, "The complete and exhaustive exam and care gave me a strong sense of confidence." After learning about the options, Jason decided to participate in a clinical trial for his treatment, which began in late February and continued through March. He says that despite being at a large, busy medical center, he was anything but a number. From the nurses to the staff in the labs, "I felt like I was the only patient they saw all day," he says.
Jason got into a rhythm of watching "The Voice" before and after his chemotherapy treatments. He'd drive from Chicago to Rochester, Minnesota, on Mondays, watch the show that night, go in for his treatment bright and early (sometimes really early) on Tuesday morning, drive back to Kenilworth in the afternoon, and gather the family around for the results show on Tuesday night. He says he was inspired by seeing the perseverance, courage and determination of the show's performers, who were putting themselves out there on a national stage. That energized him for the next day's treatments.
He shared that with his sister-in-law, who's a backing vocalist on the show. Jason wrote to compliment her on her work and the quality of the production, and tell her how much the show has meant to him. She in turn, shared his comments with the show's producer, who found them inspiring. Soon, Jason had his own moment before a national audience.
You can find the episode embedded below and online on the "The Voice" website. The Fan Spotlight starts to shine at around the 45-minute mark.
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