A former "American Idol" contestant and San Diego resident is now facing surgery to remove a brain tumor, which doctors have told her is the size of a large peach.
“The day before Thanksgiving, I started having what they call a simple partial seizure, once every three hours,” Avalon Young told NBC 7.
Young, 26, who grew up in Tierrasanta and attended Serra High School, found herself in the national spotlight in 2016 when she finished in the Top 8 on "American Idol." Since then, she’s launched a recording and songwriting career that includes an album reaching No. 2 on the iTunes R&B album chart.
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After Young began having seizures, she said, doctors could not explain why they were happening, so her mother insisted she get an MRI. Then, last week, she received stunning news.
“There’s a tumor on my left frontal lobe, the size of a peach," Young said. "A big peach."
Early Friday morning, doctors at UC San Diego Medical Center in La Jolla will begin a 12-hour procedure to remove the tumor. Young said there will be a team of 10-15 people in the operating room. And while doctors have told her it’s not a life-threatening procedure, there is no prognosis for after the surgery.
“I’m going to have to get brain surgery, which is scary for me because my whole job is based on my creativity, so my brain to be worked on and sliced into is a little bit nerve-racking,” Young said. “I got superblessed, and I feel like I really get to work with the best team that’s going to take the best care of my brain, and for that, I’m just grateful and excited to get it out of there, honestly.”
On the day before the surgery, Young was keeping a positive perspective.
“I feel like it would almost be wasteful for me to spend this last week crying, being upset, being mad, because I just don’t see how that can help me at all,” Young said.
The singer has also made the decision to publicly share her story with thousands of fans on social media. She says it’s like having "thousands of best friends.”
In a message to them, she said, in part: “This will not change anything about me or music in any way. Just need a few weeks to recover. I love you guys a ton, honestly. Anyone reading this, know that I love you, see you soon."
Young's girlfriend has set up a GoFundMe page that can be found here. So far, supporters have contributed more than $8,000.