Survivor Stories: Carson Daly Recalls His Mother’s Battle with Breast Cancer

By Brian Ives 

This is the first in’s series of “Survivor Stories,” where we talk to breast cancer survivors — or their family members — about their battle. 

“Breast cancer has impacted my life in a very, very significant way,” Carson Daly says. The morning host at 97.1 AMP in Los Angeles (as well as TV’s The Voice) says that the disease hits close to home. “My mother’s a breast cancer survivor: she was diagnosed back when I worked at MTV. In fact, just minutes before I was going live on MTV, when I hosted TRL, I found out she was diagnosed, but I still had to go out. Thank God she’s OK now. It’s been over fifteen years. Cancer took the life of my father, but it spared the life of my mother. ”

“It was tough to learn about my mother’s diagnosis while having a job where your sole effort is to entertain teenagers nationwide on television,” he says. “My mom is a former actress, and was in radio, and certainly understands that the show must go on, and I know that’s what she wanted me to do, so I went out and did the best that I could. Subsequently, I would have to go on the air every day pretending everything is hunky-dory, knowing that breast cancer had impacted our family so deeply, and not knowing what my mother’s fate would be.”

“My mom went into surgery, she had a single mastectomy, and they asked her what song she would want played in the operating room. I was expecting maybe the Eagles, or Fleetwood Mac. She choose R. Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ So that song holds some deep meaning [for me]. When I hear it now, wherever I’m at, I think about my mom getting wheeled into the operating room.”

However, he reports that the surgery was ultimately successful: “She’s just fine now.”

Daly has appeared at CBS RADIO’s We Can Survive concert in the past and he says he’s proud to have done so. “The We Can Survive event that I’m a part of for CBS Radio is obviously something that I’m very proud of, because [breast cancer] is something that’s impacted my family so much, and the fight against breast cancer is something that everyone can relate to. It’s a very important night, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

His advice to those diagnosed is to stay positive: “I would say to anyone out there who’s fighting breast cancer: it’s not a death sentence anymore. My mom was diagnosed, and it scared the hell out of us, but if you stay strong and you get lots of information, you can come out on the other side of this. Have faith. And believe you can get beyond it. ”

Now in its fourth year, CBS RADIO brings together today’s biggest artists and their fans in raising awareness about breast cancer. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, for every ticket sold, $2 will benefit Young Survival Coalition, the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second-most common cancer overall. For more information on We Can Survive, go to the show’s official website.  




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