MINNEAPOLIS — An Iowa man with strong Minnesota connections is already making his mark on NBC’s "The Voice."
And what’s even more important to the rising country star, Jay Allen is also continuing to give a voice to those fighting the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s.
“You really are saying goodbye over and over and over again,” Allen said about his experience with his mother, Sherry Lynn Rich, whose Alzheimer’s journey ended in February 2019 when Rich was only 54 years old.
“We had to watch my mom go from a vibrant, colorful, giving person, to suddenly having a blank stare on her face, not knowing who we were at the end,” Allen shared with KARE 11’s Karla Hult in an interview for Breaking the News.
Before losing his mom, Allen actually wrote and started performing his song "Blank Stares" about his pain throughout his mom’s battle. Allen says the song has helped raise $50 million for Alzheimer’s research.
And now, the Iowa boy – who’s performed often at the Twin Cities Alzheimer’s Association’s annual gala – hopes to bring his message to the greater community and a new audience.
“What better way to get more eyes and ears on this,” he said about his participation in "The Voice," adding: “I still feel her. My faith tells me that she’s with me every day. She’s in heaven. She’s on the stage, she’s right beside me.”
By the way – for avid fans of The Voice – Karla did ask Allen why he chose to be on Gwen Stefani’s team, rather than Blake Shelton’s, given the latter has more country chops. Allen said it was simple: “I’ve always been surrounded by beautiful, strong, powerful women.”
To learn more about the resources of the Alzheimer’s Association – the primary recipient of Allen’s outstanding outreach, just click here.
Full disclosure: Hult lost her own father to Alzheimer’s in 2019, a painful journey she documented and shared on KARE 11. She remains relentlessly supportive of the Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and also started a company, So Many Goodbyes, dedicated to helping others – families, caregivers and the greater community – deal with this cruel disease.