May 30, 2014— -- A 19-year-old rapper is celebrating his big break into the music world amid treatment for a deadly cancer.
Jeff Mortimer was 16 years old when he was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma – a form of muscle cancer in his left shoulder. Now, after three years of radiation therapy and chemo, he’s battling a relapse. But the teen from West Palm Beach, Florida, insists cancer won’t slow him down.
“I don’t worry about what I’m going through,” Mortimer told ABC News. “When I see what people really go through, it made me want to work harder to push forward.”
Mortimer, who goes by the stage name “Young Jay,” said it wasn’t until he was dealing with cancer that he felt that he could transform his music hobby into a professional pursuit.
“I always used to write…then put it to the side,” said Mortimer. “But I never took advantage of the music until now.”
Once Mortimer started to be serious about music, his talent astounded those close to him.
“Jeff comes on the mike and our hearts and our jaws just dropped,” Brittany Williams, a children’s specialist with Palm Beach Children’s Hospital told ABC News affiliate WPBF-TV about seeing Mortimer on stage for the first time.
Mortimer even helped spearhead a program at the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital to help other children create music that inspires them. And just last week, he signed with recording giant Sony.
While Mortimer will remain in treatment, he said doctors will move him from intravenous chemotherapy to a pill form so that he can be more mobile and tour.
“When doors are open you have to take them, because you never know when you’re going to see them again,” he said.