Randy Owen Shares a Health Update (and the Status of Alabama’s Touring Plans)
These days, good health isn't something he takes for granted, the singer explained as he walked the red carpet at the annual Country Cares Seminar for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on Thursday night (Oct. 12).
"I'm 73 years old. I just had my tests and everything, and everything came back really good," Owen told Taste of Country and other outlets. "I had my flu shot. So, I'm ready to go."
Owen's health issues have occasionally kept Alabama from the stage in recent years. In 2019, the group had to cancel a couple of shows due to the singer's bout of severe vertigo and migraine headaches. He also battled prostate cancer in 2010, flying to Mexico on the advice of his doctor to seek a high-intensity focused ultrasound procedure (HIFU) not available in the United States.
Owen has now been cancer-free for a decade-and-a-half, and he told the Tennesseean in 2019 that in some ways, his own experience with cancer has been a blessing. That's because it allows to him to relate differently to the children battling pediatric cancers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital — a place where he's spent a significant amount of time. Owen founded the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program in 1989 and has been the figurehead of the fundraising initiative ever since.
"I can look at those sweet little children at St. Jude and their families and say, 'I'm with you. I'm a cancer survivor. I know what it's like to be told that I have cancer,'" Owen relates.
At the 2023 Country Cares Seminar, Owen was once again on hand to celebrate the children of St. Jude and complete his yearly tradition of awarding the Angels Among Us trophy to another country artist whose contributions to St. Jude have been particularly pronounced. This year, it went to Brothers Osborne.
Standing onstage at the gala dinner celebrating the Angels Among Us award honorees on Thursday night (Oct. 12), Owen asked the crowd who among them, like him, knew what it felt like to receive a cancer diagnosis. Several raised their hands.
"Many people know what it's like to hear those words: 'You've got cancer.' I do. I'm a cancer survivor, thank God," he told the crowd said, adding that his bout with the disease further cemented the "promise" of his mandate to care for St. Jude kids.
"I said I would do everything I could to help the kids of St. Jude," he reflected. "I've been through that promise, and I'm cancer-free."
As he looks ahead to 2024, Owen tells Taste of Country that he's hopeful that Alabama will be able to spend ample time with their fans onstage. But the health challenges he and his bandmates have faced are a potent reminder that the ability to tour isn't guaranteed, and he plans to appreciate every chance he gets to be onstage.
"I just never know. I enjoy every show," he says with a smile, "and thank God I get to do one more show."
Every year, Taste of Country joins Townsquare Media radio stations nationwide for their Country Cares radiothons. The country music community has been the single biggest supporter of St. Jude through the years, with TSM raising more than $15 million in nine years.
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