“If I’m not making every day the best day of my life, what am I doing?” says the American Idol alum amidst her fight with brain cancer.
The diagnosis has changed Avalon Young immeasurably. Earlier this year, the Idol fan-favorite underwent her first surgery to remove a large brain tumor. Now, she’s updating fans after another round with an interview that reads like a lesson in self-truth.
“How can you be told that you have something like cancer and not think about it every day?” the singer pitches point blank to PEOPLE for their recent interview. “It’s one of the first things I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I fall asleep.”
Last summer, Young was relaxing by the pool with roommates celebrating her 26th birthday when a disorienting bout of confusion hit. The days that followed were marred with seizures and muscle spasms. After frantic doctors visits and hospital stays, the American Idol Season 15 star was diagnosed with the C-word. Brain cancer, specifically.
“All of my doctors were telling me it was anxiety at first,” she continues. “I had blood work done and a bunch of mental tests and everything was coming back fine, until my mom finally convinced me to get an MRI.”
For Young, “Honestly, that MRI saved my life.”
The singer has stayed busy since her 2016 stint on American Idol, too. But not in the way most might think.
“If I’m not making every day the best day of my life, what am I doing?” she tells PEOPLE straight-up. With an album (LUSH) hitting June 1st, she refuses to let cancer define her life no matter how much she admits it does.
‘American Idol’ Singer Avalon Young
Today, Thursday the 27 of May, Young had her second surgery to treat the cancer found in November of 2020. The dates put into perspective how long it took doctors to find the cause of her illness. A “peach-sized tumor.”
Her Thursday surgery is #2 of a possible 3 operations.
“The mass of the tumor was really, really big at the time and was really important for them to get out,” she recalls.
For this second surgery, “they want to get out as much as they can so when they go on with radiation and chemo, they have a better chance of fully killing all the cancer that’s in there.”
Through it all, the American Idol alum has learned to “take everything day by day.”
She notes that while she “could freak out if I wanted to and I’ve freaked myself out a few times,” she is now confident in her medical team’s proficiency.
“I know that I have the best team of surgeons who have already taken really good care of me. I trust them to go in again and do this. We’re just going to get this cancer done and then we’re going to do radiation and we’re going to do chemo. And then after that, I’m just going to live the best version of my life every day until I die.”
For Young, “this whole experience has taught me, you don’t know what’s going to happen to you tomorrow.”