Cancer survivor who sang with Garth Brooks continues to fight against disease after latest setback

Posted at 10:37 PM, Feb 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-20 22:45:11-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. - The Chesterfield County cancer survivor who got her big break on stage with Garth Brooks recently has announced her cancer has returned.

Danielle El-Jor found out last week that her stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma had returned after a follow-up appointment at VCU Medical Center.

“I had my three month checkup with my oncologist last week on Tuesday. He told me my cancer has come back and it’s stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma again," El-Jor told CBS 6.

“When I got the news last Tuesday I broke down for the first time since I ever had cancer. I didn’t feel poorly, so it was a huge shock to all of us.”

Danielle said the latest news was a big blow, but she will continue to fight and beat the disease, just like the first time.

“It makes me question...Why all of this happens to anybody?" she said. "But it’s a lot of faith and a little bit of science... so that’s what is going to get me through."

The Midlothian High graduate was first diagnosed with the lymphoma on her 19th birthday. It was considered in remission, until this latest news.

CBS 6 first told Danielle’s story in November 2016 after she performed on stage with Garth Brooks at the Richmond Coliseum.

The country music superstar invited Danielle to sing with him after he heard she missed a chance to audition for “The Voice,” because she was battling cancer.

Since then, Danielle has been able to write some of her own music and release her first CD.

"We literally just sent her three new songs to Nashville to get produced and we were hit with this. Cancer definitely does not discriminate," said Danielle’s agent.

CBS 6 reporter Laura French asked Danielle what her greatest fear was, Danielle responded, “probably not being able to pursue my dream singing, not being able to perform ever again because of treatment, and you know the risk of dying.”

Danielle’s treatments are set to begin in March.

“I will start chemotherapy on March 20th, for 3 cycles every 3 weeks. (I should be done in June),” she wrote on Facebook. “After that, I will have a follow up PET scan where they will see how much of the cancer has shrunk, or is completely out of my body. If all goes well, I will be admitted into the hospital for a month (from June to July) for a stem cell transplant.”

Danielle decided to hold off on cancer treatments so she can continue to live out her dream of performing.

“I made the decision to delay treatment because I did want that one last performance before I started everything all over again. It is ugly, cancer, chemotherapy going through it all is not pretty,” said El-Jor. "Everything has been taken from me in a short amount of time, and the only thing I asked for and wanted, is to perform at the Southern Women's Show on March 18." she said.

Danielle said Garth Brooks last checked on her in December.

“He reached out to my dad around Christmas time and asked when my next appointment was,” said El-Jor. “We never wanted to tell him bad news. Who wants to deliver bad news to someone who has done so much for you, so if he decides to reach out I am sure my dad and him will talk,” she added.

“I like to think something good is coming out of this,” said El-Jor. "I thought that when I sang with Garth. I thought... oh God, that was your plan for me that’s why I got sick the first time so I could be an inspiration to people I could move people through music. This time I don’t know... I feel like he still has bigger plans for me. Maybe I need to inspire people a little more and help people push through every single day,” she added.

As Danielle continues her fight against cancer, a GoFundMe Page has been setup in her behalf.

“I can not thank everybody enough from the time I was on stage with Garth until today, I’ll still get messages from people I have never even met before,” she said. “People like that inspire me. I know that’s hard to believe but they are the inspiration to me. It’s what keeps me going. It’s what motivates me to keep fighting."

"I’m probably going to be able to write a lot of music. I’ll have so much free time to write music!” she added.