Exploring Life Post Cancer With Music: David Bays

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Cleveland Heights native David Bays was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, an aggressive and rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 18. At the time a graduating high school senior, Bays took a gap year off for treatment before starting Wright State University’s bachelor’s of fine arts in acting program. Bays continued to receive treatment for the cancer, which, a year after that, was in remission.

Bays was already a musician at the time of his diagnosis, having released 2018’s I Did It In One Day EP with his father, a professional sound engineer. After treatment, Bays found it difficult to articulate the emotional turmoil he was going through adjusting to a life free of cancer treatments.

“The part of treatment that people don’t necessarily talk about is the afterwards,” Bays said. “When you spend a long time — two years – just trying to keep yourself alive and healthy; when you return to ‘normal problems,’ it is very jarring.”

Bays took these feelings of alienation and estrangement and crafted his first full-length album, Aspects of Adjustment, which he recorded with his father and self-released April 12, 2020.

David Bays album

“I think people need to be there for each other a lot — that is what helped me through everything: the people I have,” said Bays. “I like to say the people and the way they can show love for each other is the best kind of medicine. When people really need help, we should really be there for them and not try to expect anything from them or tell them how to feel, just be there for them.”

WOUB spoke to Bays about his journey as a musician and cancer survivor, and what is up next for him.