11-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Violinist Bullied for Being Bald Wins ‘AGT’ Golden Buzzer!
While “America’s Got Talent” is fascinating to watch, it’s the “AGT” contestants’ life lessons and perseverance that really touch the hearts of millions. An 11-year-old cancer survivor and violinist named Tyler Butler-Figueroa from North Carolina is a perfect example. He not only beat the odds, but he reinvented himself and defied bullies at school.
He was diagnosed with Leukemia at 4½ years old and has been in remission for four years now. During chemotherapy, he lost his hair and was bullied by his classmates. “I started playing the violin when I was 7½. I wanted to start playing the violin because I was being bullied in school. It’s because I had cancer, I almost died,” he explained.
On Tuesday night, he stunned the audience with his powerful rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” on his violin. The “extraordinary young man” won the coveted Golden Buzzer pressed by “AGT” judge Simon Cowell who wanted to ‘say something on Tyler’s behalf to the bullies.’ He pointed out that “most people are bullied because they’re better than the people who bully them.”
His violin journey began when Butler-Figueroa saw a flyer at his school that offered an afterschool program with free violin lessons. “I would just practice in my bedroom and the more I did it, the better I got,” he added. “When I play the violin, it helps me forget about all the bad stuff. I just didn’t want to be the kid with cancer. So now, I’m the kid who plays the violin.”