Garth Brooks dedicates song to Marshalltown woman with Stage 4 cancer

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Marshalltown resident Tahler Wildman, who has Stage 4 breast cancer, shows her homemade poster at Saturday’s Garth Brooks concert in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Several songs into his set in his stadium tour last weekend, country music star Garth Brooks noticed a woman holding a poster in the crowd, aided with lights from surrounding audience members.

The woman was Marshalltown resident and Marshalltown High School 2008 graduate Tahler Wildman. Her sign read “I am a Prizefighter diagnosed @ 28 w/ Stage 4.” Then, Brooks started strumming his guitar.

“You know what? I might have a song for you. Let me see,” Brooks said after reading the sign.

It was a night to remember for Wildman.

“The song that he dedicated to me was ‘Standing Outside the Fire,'” Wildman said. “It’s an overwhelming experience. It was a genuine shoutout.”

Exactly a year ago, Wildman was given scary news – she had triple-negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease. Soon after, doctors discovered the cancer had spread to other areas, meaning it was stage four.

“I am doing well. I tell people I’m doing as good as I can under the circumstance,” Wildman said.

She said she still works at her job in human resources for TPI Inc. in Newton, despite 32 rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiation treatment sometimes being exhausting.

None of that was on her mind Saturday in St. Louis, though.

“My husband and I are big Garth Brooks fans,” Wildman said. “We had been to four other concerts and saw he was going to St. Louis.”

The two are such big fans that their first dance at their wedding was to Brooks’ “Wrapped up in You.”

The dedication went right along with the attitude Wildman has maintained ever since her diagnosis. Her oncologists told her from the start that attitude is “half the battle” when it comes to fighting cancer.

Last week, a set of scans came back and showed the disease had not spread to another part of Wildman’s body. The concert performance added to the celebratory mood of the week.

Wildman said she appreciates the likes, shares and comments the performance has had on social media, but said she didn’t do it all for attention. She thanked her sister and friends and family for the party bus that took them to the concert and for helping make the poster. She also said she appreciates the support of the Marshalltown community and the thoughts and prayers sent her way as she continues her battle.

She will never forget that night in St. Louis.

“We have been to several concerts just because he’s a great entertainer,” she said. “I don’t think any other show will top the one on Saturday.”

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Contact Adam Sodders at 641-753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com