Nicole McGuinness appeared on a TV show to find her dream home. However, little did she know that her brush with fame would actually have huge consequences on her life. Why? Well, as he watched, one eagle-eyed viewer noticed something unusual about the woman on his TV set – something that could in fact have dire consequences for McGuinness.
McGuinness lives in Morehead City, North Carolina. And, in 2015, she was busy living her life when fate dealt her a terrifying blow. In that year, doctors diagnosed her with grade four glioblastoma – a particularly nasty form of brain cancer.
The news likely came as a terrible shock to McGuinness, who was only in her late 20s at the time. And to make matters worse, given the aggressive nature of the glioblastoma, the young woman’s doctors told her that the disease would probably cut her life short.
However, with treatment, medical professionals managed to get McGuinness’ cancer under control. And as McGuinness now had what looked like a brighter future, she decided to go on television. In particular, she appeared on a 2018 episode of Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation – a show that helps buyers find their perfect seaside homes.
Now Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation is itself broadcast on HGTV. The show goes out on Saturdays and is typically watched by millions of viewers. And when McGuinness’ episode aired in May 2018, Erich Voight was among those to tune in.
Voigt is a head and neck surgeon from New York City and practices at the NYU Langone Medical Center there. Given his medical expertise, then, the doctor may notice symptoms that ordinary folk would typically miss. And as he watched McGuinness on Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation, he came to a potentially worrying conclusion.
In an interview with the New York Post in June 2018, Voigt revealed, “I was relaxing after a day of work, watching beautiful beach houses and daydreaming. But then I noticed the lump. It stood out – and I went from being relaxed to [thinking], ‘Gosh, she may have a medical problem.’”
Explaining what had worried him about the lump in particular, Voigt revealed that the mass was asymmetrical and had a “way of moving under the skin” each time McGuinness spoke. As a result, the doctor said that he “felt obliged” to warn the stranger of what he had spotted.
However, since McGuinness’ full name was not revealed on the show, Voigt was stuck about how to contact her. In the end, though, he turned to social media for help. Using Facebook, the physician reached out to friends and family, explaining that the lady in question’s life may be at risk.
Writing on Facebook, Voigt said, “I am watching a TV show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass. She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy. I wonder if she knows and hope it’s benign.” He accompanied the message with a clip of McGuinness on Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation.
And some of Voigt’s Facebook followers were eager to assist the doctor in his quest, writing helpful comments and sharing his post. What’s more, Voight’s message was eventually directed to McGuinness in time to warn her about her lump.
Explaining what went down, Voigt said to Canadian radio show As It Happens in June 2018, “Someone said to contact the broadcasting company and try to reach her through them. Another friend actually sent me the link to the broadcasting company, so I sent them an email.”
However, it was Voigt’s social media post that eventually reached McGuinness. A couple of weeks after having raised his concerns on Facebook, the New Yorker received a message from a friend of McGuinness’, who in turn revealed that they had passed the doctor’s words on.
Explaining her feelings after reading Voigt’s post, McGuinness said to As It Happens, “I felt at first shocked and then, I think, thankful.” Wasting no time, she visited her doctor the very same day to get the lump examined. Then, not long after that, she received a diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer.
And despite the fact that he hadn’t examined McGuinness himself, Voigt was hopeful that she would beat her cancer once more. He explained to As It Happens that papillary thyroid cancer “is a very curable” form of the disease; therefore, with the right treatment, McGuinness will hopefully be on the road to recovery once more.
Voigt further said of McGuinness on the radio show, “She doesn’t have any symptoms, and it’s not showing any signs clinically that it’s doing anything harmful – meaning that she swallows well [and] her voice sounds normal.” He added, “She [also] doesn’t have any [other] visible lymph nodes.”
As for McGuinness herself? Well, she believes that fate led her to appear on Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation. “I think everything happens for a reason,” she explained. “I was on that television show, and I think that’s because Dr. Voigt could spot what is on my thyroid.”
Furthermore, thanks to Dr. Voigt’s intervention, McGuinness was able to tackle her cancer sooner rather than later – which may have spelled the difference between life and death. And as a result, she decided to email the stranger and thank him for taking the time to reach out to her.
Then, later, after news of McGuinness’ extraordinary tale had spread, she and Voigt met in person. “There are not many times in a person’s life that you meet someone and say, ‘Hey, thanks. You probably saved my life,’” McGuinness said to As It Happens. “So for me, it was amazing.”
And though McGuinness’ road to recovery is ahead of her, it seems that she’s feeling positive. In June 2018 she told Raleigh-based NBC affiliate WRAL, “I think I’ll be strong. I think that I’ll carry on and hope to even offer some inspiration to folks who are in similar circumstances.”