An 11-year-old North Carolina cancer survivor won a Golden Buzzer in the latest episode of the “America’s Got Talent” talent show that aired June 11.
With his performance of Kelly Clarkson’s hit song “Stronger” on his violin, Tyler Butler-Figueroa got the coveted Golden Buzzer from judge Simon Cowell.
At the age of 4 and a half, Figueroa was diagnosed with leukemia.
“One day, we were out to dinner. I said, ‘Something does not look right with Tyler, he turned kinda pale,’ so a mother’s instinct said, ‘Let me get him to the emergency room, that was like let us take some blood work and we will be back,’” Figueroa’s mother said.
“The doctors came in [and] said, ‘Yeah, he does have cancer,’” she added. “And it was the worst day of my life.”
When Figueroa lost his hair during chemotherapy, he shared that he had been bullied in school.
“When I lost my hair, I was really sad and embarrassed at the same time to go to school,” Figueroa said. “They used to make fun of me and laugh at me because I was different, they would spread rumors to say that my cancer was contagious and they all wanted to stay away from me.”
After seeing a flyer offering free violin lessons, Figueroa wanted to know how to play the violin.
“Once he started that [violin] class, it was like sunshine,” Figueroa’s mother stated. “He was just full of energy and happy, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I got my son back.’”
“When I play the violin, it helps me forget about all the bad stuff. I just did not want to be the kid with cancer, so now I am the kid who plays the violin,” Figueroa said.