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South Surrey musician fighting cancer speaks through his songs

todayAugust 26, 2023 6

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South Surrey singer-songwriter Dave Stanley Daoust said he’s been taking one day at a time since a terminal cancer diagnosis. Contributed photo
Daoust posed with the Terry Fox memorial in St. John’s, Newfoundland during his cross-country van trip retracing Fox’s route earlier this year. Contributed photoDaoust posed with the Terry Fox memorial in St. John’s, Newfoundland during his cross-country van trip retracing Fox’s route earlier this year. Contributed photo
Daoust dips his foot into the ocean at St. John’s Newfoundland prior to his westward trip following Terry Fox’s planned route. Contributed photoDaoust dips his foot into the ocean at St. John’s Newfoundland prior to his westward trip following Terry Fox’s planned route. Contributed photo
Conclusion of Daoust’s cross-Canada van tour came with a dip into the waters on White Rock beach at the beginning of August with his daughter Stefanie. Contributed photoConclusion of Daoust’s cross-Canada van tour came with a dip into the waters on White Rock beach at the beginning of August with his daughter Stefanie. Contributed photo

Dave Stanley Daoust isn’t shy about discussing life – and mortality – these days.

“As much as it’s up to me, I’m going to fight with everything I’ve got,” the South Surrey-based singer-songwriter said.

In December of 2022 the award-winning musician – whose self-described “very Canadian” sound mixes country, rock and gospel influences – received the kind of diagnosis that most people dread.

“The doctor told me that I had stage four prostate cancer and that I’d likely be dead in two to three years,” Daoust said.

“The first thing I thought was ‘it ain’t going down like that,’” he added.

Adding to the blow at the time was the news that his cancer was already too far gone for conventional chemo or radiation treatments.

But Daoust has since had plenty of cause for his current attitude of quiet optimism – and his mission to prove we can each make the most out of whatever measure of life we are granted.

He has the loving care of his wife, Susan, daughter Stefanie and son Sam – and support of family and friends in the community who have helped with the high cost of alternative treatments.

And thanks to testosterone-suppressing hormone therapy, he has already managed to reduce his PSA (the test for the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood stream) from 4.07 to 3.1 – a significant drop from his original diagnosis.

But that’s only been part of his battle so far.

Daoust, who is also musical director for the Whalley City Centre Church, has been determined to stay active to improve the quality of his life – and provide a positive example for others.

He took a cross-Canada van tour between June and early August to raise funds and awareness, is currently busy preparing to participate in the Terry Fox Run for cancer research this September – and has written a song, Run, Canada, Run, just posted to YouTube, to help promote the event.

Documented in a series of videos (also on YouTube), his tour followed the full route Terry Fox intended to run in 1980, from the east coast all the way back to B.C.

While Fox was forced to abandon his ‘Marathon of Hope’ in Thunder Bay, Ont.– due to a return of his cancer – Daoust persevered in driving back home.

But the east-to-west journey, starting with dipping his toe in the ocean at St. John’s, Nfld. – just as Fox did – was not without setbacks, Daoust recounted.

While plans to co-write a song with somebody in each province proved difficult to manage, van repairs that forced an extended stay in New Brunswick became a taxing ordeal. Even limiting his driving to three or four-hour stints during the trip came with a toll of exhaustion.

But Daoust, buoyed by his quiet faith, remained cheerful, narrating for viewers, sometimes singing along with whatever music he had playing in the van – which usually featured a preponderance of oldies.

But it was also an emotional trip and he found he was deeply touched by following in the path of Fox.

“This journey was really about the people (I’ve met) and, of course, Terry Fox,” he said, in summation, in the video covering the last leg of the tour.

“I’ve had the time of my life – it’s been the hardest thing, it’s been the best thing, and I think that’s pretty fitting.”

Daoust’s next venture will be participating in the South Surrey Terry Fox Run on Sept. 17. (from 8 a.m. registration to 11 a.m. at South Surrey Athletic Park, 2197 148 St.).

Meanwhile he continues to write and play music (he estimates he has written some 800 songs – “everything from spaghetti western-like themes to rock and roll” he said).

Career highlights have included penning a song, Only Live Once, with Dan Swinimer which, performed by the band Me and Mae, made the Canadian country charts.

He also won a BC Musician magazine songwriting award with one of his originals, Bobby Orr, and received a 2014 Canadian Country Music Award for most promising up-and-coming songwriter.

Daoust said he remains philosophical, no matter how much time he has, and however much music he is able to make and share.

“I’m 61 years old and don’t need to get my affairs in order,” he said.

“There are things I’d like to do, things that are already recorded, so much stuff in the hopper. But I’m taking it one day at a time – what else is there?” he said.

“I’m living life on life’s terms. Life is beautiful, life is hard – it’s a lot of things. Do I want to have cancer? No. Am I making the best of it? I’d like to think so.

“Everything becomes more meaningful. I have no petty grudges any more – I just don’t care about things like that,” he added.

“What I want to do most of all is bring hope to people’s lives – give them hope that they can overcome whatever circumstances they’re facing.”

To support Daoust’s participation in the Terry Fox Run with donations, visit https://run.terryfox.ca/page/davestanleydaoust

For more about Daoust’s latest music, visit www.davestanleyband.com


alex.browne@peacearchnews.com
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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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