At only 26-years-old, Jackie Lee has lived through hardships brought on by cancer that many won't know in their whole lifetime. In June 2016, he lost his mother to a 3-year-long fight with ovarian cancer, and only 6 months later, Lee started having health problems of his own.
After a doctor's visit due to unusual pain, Lee learned that he needed to have surgery to remove a testicle. He did so, only telling his father, in the hopes of sparing most of his family more heartache. When test results came back, he learned that he had Stage 2 cancer, though he hoped all would be well since it was caught early. But heartbreak continued for Lee. He left his record label, Broken Bow, and broke up with his girlfriend, Taylor Dye, all while still trying to process the emotional pain brought on by cancer.
One year after his mother's death, he was able to sit down with songwriters Sean McConnell and Barry Dean to create a bit of closure through a song called "Long Year." Just as Lee had penned the deep, emotionally raw song, he learned in a routine checkup that his cancer had returned in his lymph system.
Thankfully, Lee was assured that the cancer would be treatable, but he still had to go through 86 days of chemotherapy. He recorded his journey, chronicling the doctor's office visits, hair loss, and support gained from family and friends while he tried to stay healthy and sane.
Lee doesn't want to be defined by the disease, but he chose to tell the world about his struggles through the "Long Year" music video where he combines the narrative of his mother's death and his own health problems, culminating in a powerfully personal song and video that reflects his artistic direction moving forward. As Lee told People, he used to be so worried about writing a No. 1 hit that "everyone would love" that he "forgot that music is healing" and that his new song can touch more people "more than any other song I've ever been a part of."