Why ‘BGT’ Winner Jon Courtenay Hid His Cancer Diagnosis And Suffered In Silence
Singing comedian Jon Courtenay made everyone laugh throughout Season 14 of ‘BGT.’ It is no surprise that he was declared the winner of the season. His act is loved by fans who appreciate how humble and hilarious he is. But, he was keeping his skin cancer battle a secret from the whole world at the time.
‘BGT’ Winner Jon Courtenay Hid Cancer Diagnosis During The Show
When he first auditioned for ‘BGT’ in January of 2020, Jon noticed a suspicious mole on the side of his head. He decided to keep this to himself and continue on in the competition. He ended up receiving the Golden Buzzer from hosts Ant & Dec.
After establishing himself as an early frontrunner in the competition, Jon went to go have his mole checked by doctors. He was diagnosed with melanoma, a form of skin cancer that begins in the cells that produce melanin. In August, Jon secretly had the mole removed as ‘BGT’ prepared to film amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He was told by doctors that another surgery was necessary after fears the cancer would spread to his lymph nodes. “Mentally it was agonizing. The doctor’s face was so serious I thought I only had days to live” he told The Sun.
“I was in so much fear about the future. I had panic attacks. But I was grateful to be busy with BGT,” he continued. Jon won the £250,000 and had surgery after the Final. He returned for the ‘BGT’ Christmas special wearing a Santa hat to cover his bandages.
Why Did Jon Keep His Health Battle A Secret?
Jon, a father of two first decided it was best to keep his skin cancer diagnosis a secret for a while. His wife Emmah lost her father to skin cancer and he was hesitant to tell her the news.
“I totally wasn’t going to tell her but as soon as I saw her face I told her. I had a little cry. It hit me” he told ITV’s This Morning. Though he told his wife about his diagnosis, he still decided to hide it from the ‘BGT’ viewers.
“I know that BGT are making a TV show and it’s almost a cliché now that people have these sob stories when they come on the show, and I didn’t want to be that,” he said in an interview with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
“I didn’t want it to be about my head. I wanted it to be about the fact that I was trying to have this break in my career after 30 years” he said. “It was really important, I didn’t want the press to suddenly be ‘BGT’ semi-finalist, or whatever, battling.”
He wrote “The Mole Song” in 2021 to make people aware of the signs of suspicious moles. Check out the tune down below.
Jon now urges people to get checked by doctors and to donate to Macmillan Cancer Support.