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Relative Race’s Dan Debenham reveals he’s battling stage 4 prostate cancer
September 19th, 2022 under BYU TV. [ Comments: 3 ]

Relative Race is back for its 10th season on BYU TV on Sunday nights. Before yesterday’s premiere episode started, the show’s host Dan Debenham had a message for the fans of the reality show that helps contestants find the family they never knew about. He revealed that he has been battling stage 4 prostate cancer for over a year and has just finished chemotherapy.

“I wanted to share my journey with all of you. In doing so, I realize that cancer is something that has affected so many of you. Through all my rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, it was my family that was there for me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Their love, and their prayers, their support, it’s lifted me up and carried me through the tough times,” Debenham said. “I’ve often thought of all of our Relative Race teams throughout the years and their desperate search and sincere hope they’ll find anyone that is family. You know, I often say that Relative Race is a journey like any other. And as I quietly shared my own journey, I am so grateful for the thoughts and the prayers on my behalf. And for those of you who may be on this same journey, know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Today, I ask you to pray for him to beat cancer. Take a few minutes out of your day to pray for a man who has brought joy to many others by bringing families together for the first time.

And to all the men out there, go see your doctor and get your blood checked. A simple PSA test can help you catch prostate cancer early.


Relative Race wants you to vote on the daily outcome starting today
May 22nd, 2022 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]

Relative Race is back in production, as you read this, on its 10th season, and we, the fans, are being asked to play a part in the show this year.

Starting today and for the next 9 days, they want us to vote on one picture per day that each team took as an assigned subject. We won’t know how our vote plays a part in the game until the show debuts in the Fall.

Host Dan Debenham says our “votes will be a huge factor in determining the team’s daily results.” So we have a big say this season. And I like that. Even though I don’t know what it is.

So, how do we vote? We can go to either the Relative Race Instagram or Facebook page and vote once for our favorite photo from 4:30-5:30p MDT (6:30-7:30p EDT) from May 22nd to May 30th.

What is Relative Race? It is my favorite reality show. Well, that doesn’t help you. Each season, 4 teams of 2 go from location to location in a car with an old school map to meet family members they have never met or have not seen since they were babies.

Most of the teams have one member who was adopted and will be meeting their biological family for the first time. So get the tissues ready because I ugly cry several times a season. When they meet their mother or father for the first time, we all turn into blubbering babies. It is so beautiful and heartfelt.

What other reality show does that? None. And since it is a competition, each week, when they get to the location of their mystery relative, they have to do a challenge. After they are done with the challenge, they then go to meet their new family member.

In seasons past, the winner was determined how long it took them to get from one relative’s house to the other one’s home, and the challenge can either hurt or help their time on that.

They do that for 9 days, and then on day 10, the remaining teams play in one last challenge, and the winner goes home with $50,000.

Does that make sense? If not, you can watch past seasons on BYUTV or their app for free. I promise you will adore this show as much as I do. Just make sure you have enough tissues to watch 9 seasons of tear-inducing, happy episodes.

I cannot say enough good things about this series. I wish there were more competition series that are as wholesome and as rewarding as this show. I want to compete on the show and meet new family, but I don’t have anyone in my life I could spend 9 days in a car with and not kill them.


Is this the most chilling version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah?
January 26th, 2021 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]

Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah is one of the most haunting songs ever performed, no matter who performs it. There really is not much more you have to do to it to get chills. At least, so I thought.

BYU’s acapella quintet Vocal Point recorded themselves singing the ballad in a tiled hallway. As you can hear, the acoustics worked perfectly for them. Listen to their harmonizing voices bounce off the walls to give it even more of an angelic sound.

I don’t know about you, but I have goosebumps all over. I am in awe of their talent.

I hope BYU TV considers giving them a show on their network. I would watch them perform over and over again.


Relative Race’s Team Red on meeting their 200 new family members!
October 14th, 2018 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]

There are hundreds of reality shows on television these days, but there are very few that are as positive as BYU TV’s Relative Race. The show that airs Sundays at 9p E/6p P is Amazing Race meets Who Do You Think You Are. Four teams start at one location and then span out across the country to meet family members that they did not know they have all around the United States.

Sounds simple? Nope. Before each team of two gets in their car to go to the next destination, they have to turn in their phones. That means no GPS; they will have to travel with just paper maps. Sounds really difficult? It gets harder. When they reach their new family members’ city, they have to participate in a challenge. Those challenges are not easy. Once they finish that, they are off to meet their family members. Which is what this show is all about.

Mike Brown has never met his father’s family including his father. He wants to get to know them, not only for himself but also for his only daughter, Austin Williams and her children. The father and daughter are not going to spend 10 days in a car together to meet the family they never knew they had.

In the first episode, they found out that Brown’s father passed away. That news is hard enough, but the manner how he died, made your heart break for him. His father killed his wife, who filed for divorce, and himself. Fortunately, his niece was able to tell him that his six brothers and sisters all loved their dad. He now has not just one sibling to meet but three brothers, three sisters and their extended families.

I recently talked to the father and daughter, and they told me what it is like to meet their now huge family.

What was it like to do the show?
: It was difficult. I would say it was one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever had to do. It was absolutely worthwhile, invaluable, in having the opportunity to go do the journey with my father, obviously. But also both of us being able to meet all of his family that we didn’t even know existed, so it was really special. It was just a little torturous.

What is like suddenly having this big family?
It’s amazing. I’ve never experienced a family like this before. From the outside looking in, you know, you kinda hear about these kinds of families. But now being part of a family that is so close, it’s really rewarding. I’m glad that Austin gets to see what a really cool big family looks like.

AUSTIN: I’m an only child. Growing up it was just me and mom and dad. And then my mom’s side of the family, that we did know, is a very, very small family. Getting to know these relatives. I’m thankful for, just opportunities to have things in common with people who I’m related to you and not just, you know, friends who I choose to be my family. But knowing that’s my cousin, I’m actually related to her. We have all of these things in common. Then an uncle and all of these people where I’ve never really had that before. Even something as simple as like, I look like you. I actually look like you.
It’s a very unique way of feeling like you belong or I rather I belong. And I had not felt that before. So I think that that’s probably the thing that I’m most thankful for because as daddy said the genetics are very strong. So we look alike and we have very similar interests and we’re good at the same things. Seeing that has been really, really cool.

MIKE: Austin’s kids, my grandkids, have cousins that are the same age as them and they’re just going to be friends for their whole lives. That they are connected and what a blessing.

Have they been to see their family since the show finished taping?
We have both taken trips. We both took trips separately. Me and my husband, we took our children up to Connecticut to meet all of our new family on one trip. Then we actually had had the opportunity to obviously keep in touch through like FaceTime and those kinds of thing. And then dad, he went a few weeks after I did. So he took his wife.

MIKE: My wife has been adopted into the family seamlessly. She’s a professional educator and they’re professional educators on the Williams side of the family and they just connect. I have to make them hang up the phone. They spend hours on the phone. I tell her she can call them back tomorrow. So it is pretty funny.

AUSTIN: My kids are hilarious in their love for this new family. One example specifically, my daughter Michael, she’s six, and she is just so smitten with Camille who we met from day one. She asks me multiple times a week if we can FaceTime Camille. When we went up to visit, Michael just hung on to Camille like she was a little baby monkey. She just wanted to be on Camille all the time and it was the cutest, sweetest thing ever. She and Camille just kinda clicked. So you know, they love being together.
They love having this new family. It’s been wonderful to you to see my children just kind of be incorporated in, in and entered into the fold of what the Williams family is.

Is Mike sad that he did not meet his dad?
Realizing, because of my age, the potential for him to still be alive, it was going to be pretty slim. That came to pass. We realized that on day one. It’s still kinda hard. I’m still processing all of that stuff.
We went from not having a clue who my father was to knowing my who my father is. Then 200 more relative and the emotions that come with, with all of those people and their connections. That it’s, uh, it was still a lot.

Besides meeting their blood relatives, have they become like family with any of the other contestants?
: We adopted Team Black. They’re part of our family. They have come to visit us in South Carolina. Both Austin’s and my house in there welcome forever and ever.

Would they recommend doing Relative Race to other people?
Absolutely! Yeah, totally man. It’s, so, a once in a lifetime opportunity. To have the geneticists do the background checks and being availed the opportunity to meet so many family members that you never would have known. Just answer the other questions that you have regarding your relatives and stuff like that. It’s really a unique opportunity. It’s pretty cool.

What else did they want to say?
I would say appreciate every day that you have with family. Family is family. It’s a whole different dynamic. It’s a whole different construct. It’s a whether you get along or don’t get along, family is family. When you allow someone to be part of your family, they become family too. I would say just appreciate every single day that you can share with people that you care for.


Team Blue talks about making it to the Relative Race finals!
May 2nd, 2018 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]

On Sunday’s season finale of Relative Race on BYU TV, everyone was shocked when Team Blue and Team Red finished in a tie, a first for the show. That meant that the three remaining teams, including Team Black, would advance to the finals.

Last week, I spoke with Michael Anderson and his son, Dylan, and they told me about their wild adventure. He told me that he came back with a newfound confidence and that convinced him to run for a seat in the North Carolina State Representative race for District 83. If you live in that district, make sure to vote for him on Tuesday, May 8th. He also told me they came back with all 24 blue t-shirts that they gave them to wear for the 10-day competition.

SOW: What was it like when you heard that you and Team Red both finished 1 hour and 8 minutes over the time limit? Meaning that you both tied for second place and would move on to the finals?
I mean it was an incredible shock. It was great. Believe me, once we knew Team Black won that day we were like, oh boy, somebody is going home? But it worked out well I think for everybody.

SOW: Did you think you were going to make it to day 10?
Well listen, after the fifth day I looked at Dylan and I was like there’s no way we’re going to make it to the last day. It was not easy whatsoever. After that day we picked up steam, and things started falling our way. I will tell you the day that really helped us tremendously was the eighth day and there was like a home court advantage. I didn’t even use a map.

SOW: Talking about maps, what is like driving with Dylan now that you are back to normal?
We’re back to normal now and we know mostly where we’re going to be. We can use GPS, we know where we want to go and we’re not timed. What a lot of people didn’t understand was something that was equally as hard as using a map was going the speed limit constantly. You are constantly looking down and making sure you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re going places you’re not familiar with. You’ve got a time limit. You’re going against the other teams. You don’t know what challenge you’re getting ready to walk up to. You don’t know what relative you’d walk up to. It was just really stressful every single day.

SOW: What about the most stressful day of the race, what was that final day in DC like?
All right, well I’m going to be just blunt with you here. We showed up the morning of the final day. We’re on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We’re in jeans and blue shirts, and everybody else shows up in these tight jogging pants and nice tennis shoes. Then we find out what we’re supposed to do. I look at Dylan and I said, we ain’t got a shot in the world. We are not the most nimble and athletic people on the planet. And when we found out what it was, I’m like, oh Lord, have mercy. Don’t kill yourself, don’t have a heart attack. And I’m telling you the truth is there is a paramedic. They were eyeing me the whole time. Look, I’m OK. We enjoyed the final day.

SOW: What did you think of the challenges that they gave you throughout the whole competition?
I tell you what the minds behind this whole show, how they come up with these challenges in the whole 10th day. I don’t know how they do it. I would love to come up with my own challenges and make them do it. They, they are very creative. They are very supportive of you. They encourage you the whole time. I mean they are by your side and they want to make great TV show. We’ve got that and we did everything we could to make it as good as positive as we could.

SOW: What did you think of the people who worked on the show?
They work so hard and they care. They truly cared about us. They truly wanted the best for us. Sure, they laughed at us when I got a cramp. I have not only found family, but I’ve made new friends. I plan to come out to Utah, the first chance I get. I’m on it. I’m going to come over to the network and say hello to people. I will make it a point to go to the production company and say hello. And I’m dead serious. I am definitely doing that this year. We just more people need to know about this show period.

SOW: So you appreciate all that Relative Race has done for you?
Life is so short and we have so many things that we need to be appreciative more and worry less about Selfie and Snapchat. Worry more about your family and your neighbor. This show I cannot say enough. I mean I should work for their marketing. I love this show that, so I would be an outstanding marketer for this show. I say that these people at the network and I just can’t say enough about the work that they do. They work their tail off every single day and they don’t get the credit they deserve.

While season 3 of Relative Race is over, season 4 is going to air in the fall. Be prepared for Michael Anderson to tell everyone to watch it. And whoever he does not tell, I am going to tell them to watch the best competition show on television. Every week, you end the episode feeling good. You see people who start out with no families, end the season with a mother, father, siblings and more cousins than you can count on your hand. How many other shows give people the families they never knew they had and have always wanted? We need more shows that are positive like this one. Plus, you see parts of America, you never knew about. What more can you ask for from a TV show?


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