Classical crossover soprano and America's Got Talent first runner-up, Bárbara Padilla, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Disease (Nodular Sclerosis) in March of 1996. She received a full treatment of chemotherapy, but given the advanced stage of the illness, the treatment proved to be useless. She then had to undergo several more full treatments of different types of chemotherapy, throughout a five-year period. At one point her cancer was localized in the neck area.
Coincidentally, Bárbara had just been awarded a full scholarship to study music at the University of Houston. Her doctors were cautious because Bárbara's bone marrow was too damaged to undergo more chemotherapy. After a consensus, doctors decided to give her a treatment of radiation. They warned the singer that her vocal cords were going to be severely damaged and that she would never sing again. Against all odds, Bárbara's voice was intact throughout the treatment and beyond. Months later, the soprano relapsed again and doctors diagnosed her condition as terminal. The only possibility left was an extremely risky bone marrow transplant. This was a controversial option because Bárbara was not a good candidate and the risk was too great. However, after heartfelt discussions with her family, Barbara decided she had to do it anyway.