Young singer with rare disease sings for cancer patients while hospitalized

dustinsings97Published: August 9, 2018Updated: August 10, 2018621 plays$0.66 earned
Published: August 9, 2018Updated: August 10, 2018

A hospital can seem like a sterile and sometimes gloomy place, but one patient is lifting the mood at Duke Hospital with his own music.

Music has taken the place of food for Dustin Chapman, 21, of Whiteville, because he hasn't been able to eat or drink normally for months.

Chapman has a rare disease called Achalasia, where the esophagus muscles basically quit functioning. To cope, Chapman is using his talent to encourage himself and countless others who listen. A video shared on Facebook of Chapman singing and playing his original song "Lead the Way" on the piano at Duke inspired more than 3,300 shares within a few days.

Three years ago, Chapman's condition required surgery on his esophagus. For 18 months, he could eat anything he wanted, but now Duke doctors are trying different things to enable him to be able to swallow food and liquids.

"In 2017, all my problems started coming back," said Chapman.

While he and his family wait for answers, Chapman found his best therapy was at one of the few pianos in the hospital.

Chapman's performance at the Duke Cancer Center this month got rave reviews.

"I had cancer patients coming up to me, and they were just crying, and they were like, 'That was probably therapeutic for you, but we needed that just as much as you did,'" said Chapman. "It was very rewarding."

Chapman is a music major student at Catawba College. He says he enjoys writing and performing his own gospel and country songs.

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