In 2017, Jessie Rhye Recny sang Amazing Grace at the end of her last chemotherapy session for breast cancer — and it was so beautiful and poignant, it went viral.
Recny first felt a lump in her breast when nursing her son a couple months after he was born. She thought it was due to the typical changes a woman’s body goes through after giving birth. She wasn’t really worried.
But it was cancer.
Recny was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, and underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy as well as surgery to remove it.
On her last day of chemotherapy at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, she rang the bell and said goodbye to her nurses. They begged her to sing for them, but she decided not to and headed for the door — but then she changed her mind.
She got through one line before getting choked up. “I’m gonna cry,” she says, turning to people off camera.
Her support system urges her on, with someone saying clearly, “I love it. Yeah, I love it!”
She sings another line and then pauses again, tears filling her eyes as she drums her hand over her heart to calm herself.
She rallies beautifully for several moments, and then her emotions take over again, and she ends the song sweetly and softly.
“She has been tough, she hasn’t lost her faith, and even in the sickest days, she has stayed strong with a smile,” her sister-in-law Amanda wrote in a blog entry. “And did I mention she is beautiful bald?!”
Amanda is no stranger to cancer herself. She was diagnosed with leukemia at age 11, and given two weeks to live. She proved them wrong.
Her crush at the time — a boy who she’d wanted to marry since she was 5 years old — eventually actually became her husband. His name was Josh Rhye, and he is Recny’s brother.
The same month that Recny was diagnosed with breast cancer, Amanda was launching Hope XO, an organization that aims to bring hope to those with cancer — especially kids. It provides hopeful stories, cute and inspirational clothing, and also takes donations.
Unfortunately, in the fall of 2018, Recny found out her cancer had spread to a lymph node in her right lung as well as one outside her lungs.
She has begun treatment again.
Watch Recny’s touching, powerful performance in the video below. We hope she’ll be ringing that bell and singing Amazing Grace after this round of cancer, too.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.