Special Report: Bonita youth pastor’s song of survival and faith goes viral

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The story of a local youth pastor from Bonita has gone viral, after a year-long battle with cancer that took most of is tongue. He’s defying the odds and inspiring millions.

In his first sit-down interview, Pastor Jason Sluyter talked about the determination and faith that never allowed him to give up.

Pastor Jason and his wife Alyson don’t take any moment together for granted. 

" … the third year of our marriage was living in the hospital. It was pretty surreal. I actually thought, ‘This isn’t my story,’" Pastor Jason said.

His story is being written in a way he never imagined. Last year, Jason was diagnosed with tongue cancer. His doctors told him he may never walk again after the cancer started to attack his entire body, and that was just the beginning.

"In April they removed 20-percent of my tongue and half my lymph nodes in my neck and then we thought we’re good. Then in July, the cancer came back and in September, they took 60 percent of my tongue. All lymph nodes in my neck were removed and in November, I had eight weeks of chemo, 35 rounds of radiation and then I couldn’t speak for three months, I was on a feeding tube for nine months and the worst part was they told me I may not sing again," Jason said.

But just over a year after his last surgery, Jason returned to the stage at Bonita Valley Community Church. He performed a song he had written just before his diagnosis.

Jason said he wrote the song not realizing it was going to be about him and now, it’s his anthem, one he thought he’d never be able to sing again.

Now, his performance has gone viral with over 3 million views.

The song is being performed in over 100 churches in 15 different countries. He said even as a pastor, his cancer caused questions and doubt, but his faith kept him going.

"I think sometimes people think that faith means that you don’t have doubt. I think it takes a lot of faith to not give up when you have doubts. To me, that’s what faith is," Jason said.

Categories: Local San Diego News