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Tarek El Moussa of HGTV’s Flip or Flop has recently undergone several challenges. His then-wife Christina, who was and remains his partner on the house remodeling show, filed for divorce in 2017. El Moussa has also battled serious health issues including thyroid cancer, which he recently said may have cost him his life if it weren’t for a viewer calling his attention to a telling symptom.

HGTV’s Tarek El Moussa | Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

A life-saving email

El Moussa recently spoke of receiving an email during production of Flip or Flop. “It was the beginning of season 2 of Flip or Flop,” El Moussa said, according to People. “I’m shooting my show. I’m returning emails and text messages. I’m busy with work. And then I get the email from the nurse in Texas.”

The medical professional wrote to El Moussa due to something troubling she saw when seeing him on his show. “This is not a joke. I am a registered nurse. I’ve been watching Flip or Flop,” El Moussa read from the email. “I noticed that Tarek, the host, has a large nodule on his thyroid and he needs to have it checked out.”

El Moussa scheduled a doctor’s appointment for the very next day, saying, ““I knew that if a nurse took the time, energy and effort to send an email from Texas to mention my neck, there was probably something wrong.” According to People, he was diagnosed with stage-three thyroid cancer in 2013, and moved forward with surgery to have his thyroid and several lymph nodes removed. Despite also being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013, he is now cancer free.

‘Grateful for the life I have’

Now that El Moussa has his health back in good standing, he has emphatically stated that he owes his recovering from the illness to that nurse in Texas. “If she didn’t send that email, there’s a chance I wouldn’t be doing this interview right now,” he said. “If she didn’t send that email, maybe there are other people out there that never would have found out they had cancer because I didn’t have my story.”

The father of two children from his marriage to Christina – daughter Taylor, 8, and son Brayden, 3 – the HGTV star is full of gratitude for where he is today. “Every day I wake up and I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful for the life I have. I’m grateful for my family and I’m just happy… It might sound a little crazy but I feel like everything that happened to me, happened for a reason, and I wouldn’t change it,” El Moussa said.

Telling his story on a new show

El Moussa told his story in a clip as part of a new digital video series Chasing the Cure Saved By a Stranger, which is being released ahead of a new weekly live show Chasing the Cure, as reported by People.

The series is anchored and executive produced by Ann Curry, formerly of the Today Show. Chasing the Cure is premiering in August on TBS and TNT, and will feature ten live 90-minute episodes highlighting people with ‘puzzling ailments’ and the doctors who try to treat them. The networks describe each scenario as ranging from “from the surprising and odd, to the most uplifting and joyful, to cases that are a race against the clock under heartbreaking life or death circumstances,” according to People.

“I’m thrilled to be sharing my story because I might be able to save another life,” El Moussa said. “At the end of the day, I know the power of TV and I know the power of medicine. I know the power of people, and when you combine all those three, it’s life changing and it’s absolutely incredible.”