Local musician fights cancer to get back to doing what he loves

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Jesse Kinch, of Seaford, Long Island, has fought brain cancer to get back to making music.

SEAFORD, Nassau County (WABC) -- A musician from Long Island diagnosed with cancer feared he would never play music again -- but now he is back to doing what he loves.

Somewhere in the great collision of dream and drive is Jesse Kinch, of Seaford, Long Island.

Kinch won on ABC's "Rising Star" when he was only 20 years old, but at age of 26 he received a devastating diagnosis that threatened to take all of it away.

Doctors found a tumor on the left side of his brain, called glioma.

"Just such a blow to me, because I was working so hard between ages 20 to 25 to build a career," Kinch said.

The doctors at NYU Langone Hospital - Long Island's Perlmutter Cancer Center had to explain to Kinch about the tumor's particularly cruel location.

"Right in the area of the brain that controls fine movement of your hand," said NYU Langone Hospital - Long Island Neurosurgery Chief Dr. Lee Tessler. "Near the fibers that control your singing."

So his survival could have jeopardized the one thing he loves.

"We did the surgery with Jesse awake, the idea behind that being as we were taking the tumor out, we could test different areas of the brain," Tessler said.

"It's a little freaky, because you look up and someone's inside your head...it's bizarre almost," Kinch said.

And in the months and year that followed, Kinch was determined that his hand would work again.

Kinch, who had totally lost motion in this hand, fought his way back. Not only that, he bonded with his radiation oncologist, who just happens to play base, and Kinch promised him just as soon as he was back to himself - they'd perform together.

And it finally happened last Saturday at the Tilles Center.

"It was fantastic," said Dr. Todd Carpenter, a radiation oncologist at NYU Langone Hospital - Long Island. "When you have a common thread with someone, it really can strike a chord, so to speak."

Kinch always knew that guitar was his passion and his purpose in life -- what he didn't' realize is it's possible to have more than one.

If you'd like to see Kinch in action, he will be performing at Downtown Sounds in Glen Cove on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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