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Playing through Cancer: Music Helps Man Fight Disease

GOODFIELD - As long as Don Fowler can remember, he’s been in love with music.
GOODFIELD - As long as Don Fowler can remember, he’s been in love with music.
"I started on the guitar when I was about 15.”
He first learned to play violin and guitar while attending elementary school and Manual High in Peoria. Now, he continues his passion in the comforts of his garage turned studio.
“This is my play pen, year I'm in my second childhood," said Fowler.  
He spent decades playing the Peoria area, including regular appearance on local radio and television. One thing kept him from seeking a career.
"I met my wife and I proposed to her and the only way she'd marry me was if I would promise never to go on the road,” he said of his wife of 55 years. “So I made that promise and she's never released me from it.”
He is not afraid to showcase his talent.  However, two weeks ago when his kids asked to post some of his music to Youtube, he never thought his music would be such a big hit.
“So far there's 23,000 (views). And it is very comforting to know that many people like my playing and backing me. I'm thankful," said Fowler.
But there is something his fans do not know. Fowler is fighting prostate cancer and undergoing intense radiation.
"You gotta’ have 43 treatments. Today, I had my 30. And it does take a toll on your energy level and well being."
Still - if he's able- Fowler escapes daily to his garage and spends hours deep into music.
"Music is one thing that will take your mind off of all your problems,” he said. “You have to concentrate and think about what you're playing. And it just removes you from the present day world."
This is Fowler's second time with cancer. He beat the disease 13 years ago.  Along with his deep Christian faith, music reminds him that life is bigger than illness.  
"For all people in this world, there are three ingredients you have to have to be a success. What you can do best, what you like to do best, and what you're doing have to be one. Then you will provide so much energy towards that, that nobody's gonna’ beat you," said Fowler.  
He says not even cancer can stop him.
Fowler is scheduled to finish therapy on January 21. He says there are many goals he wants to accomplish, including watching his great grandchildren grow up.


Click here to watch Don Fowler play “Amazing Grace” accompanied by WMBD’s Eugene Daniel. 

Click here for more from Fowler’s interview. 

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