When Kristi, Bret's on-and-off girlfriend for more than 16 years, heard the prognosis, she says she couldn't imagine her daughters growing up without their dad. "It was horrible," she says.

Raine, Bret's 9-year-old daughter, says she was scared her dad might die. "All these memories were just flashing through my head of him...the first time onstage with him, the first time singing in the mic with him, the first time playing basketball," she says. "To think that my dad wouldn't be growing up with me, and my dad wouldn't be walking me down the aisle for my wedding, it was just really heartbreaking."

The love of family and friends helped Bret pull through. "It gave me this unsinkable strength. It gave me this amazing courage to want to survive," he says. "I'm one of those guys who truly believes in mind over matter."


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