Wade Hayes was still barely a newcomer on the charts when he filmed the video for his third single, “Don’t Stop,” back in the spring of 1995. Though he had made videos for his prior two singles – this one was a little different. The clip required some flirtatious scenes with an extremely saucy video vixen – who bore a striking resemblance to Sheryl Crow. The singer laughs when he thinks back to that video.
“I was a country boy from a little town back then, and I was still wide-eyed,” he says. “That girl that was in the video, she halfway scared me to death. We actually turned out to be friends for awhile. The directors were telling me to just relax and have fun with it, and ‘be natural,’ but there was no way that was going to happen.”
While the making of “Don’t Stop” did require a little bit of endurance, it was nothing like what the singer has endured over the past three years – fighting a battle with colon cancer. Hayes told Billboard that he has learned to take it one day at a time, and things are going well. “Everything is going good, and I am so thankful. I just got some new test results back, and everything is looking great. I’m very thankful, considering where I came from, it’s a big deal.”
Diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, the singer says that his battle has made him realize so much about himself – which he wants to use to help others who might be in that same situation.
“I have learned that I have taken an awful lot for granted – a lot of normal everyday things. I am trying to appreciate every day and make the most of every day now. I’m also trying to help other people now. That’s when I’m truly happy. I have partnered with Genentech, a pharmaceutical company, to raise awareness about colon cancer through campaigns, interviews, and talking with people that it can get anybody at any time. It was originally associated with older people. You’re not supposed to be tested for it until you are 50 years old. It’s being diagnosed in younger people now, and I am trying to raise awareness of that. If you catch it early, it’s one of the most treatable forms of cancer there is. But, if you don’t catch it early enough like in my case, it’s one of the most deadly. I’m very fortunate to be here,” he reflected.
Hayes credits his faith in God for getting him through – and keeping things in check. “I will tell anyone that God has made it painfully obvious to me that he’s the reason I’m still here. I’ve read the statistics, and I know. I had to bury a couple of my friends last year that were diagnosed with cancer right around the same time I was. We were all in the same boat. I’m so grateful that my life has been spared. I’m trying to make the best of the time I have here, and do more. I want to give people hope. My diagnosis was dire, but here I am. I’ve made it through two bouts of cancer. I want to show people it can be done!”
That being said, it’s not been easy. The singer has had to change many things about his life – including his diet. “I have hated to give up cheeseburgers,” he admitted. These days, there is no red meat, low sugar, low-to-no dairy, no processed meats – I had to give up my sandwiches, which is another big thing. I’m back in the gym again, which is crucial. I’m just trying to take care of myself.”
Hayes is working on a new album, for which he’s already written the first song, “Go Live Your Life.” He says it was a true-to-life story. “I was with my oncologist – Dr. Berlin, who is an incredible guy. He has become a friend of mine. We had just gotten my test results back from the second bout of cancer. We were deciding whether or not I could take my port out. We found out I was clear and cancer free. He looked up at me and said ‘Go live your life.’ That hit me like a ton of bricks. Don’t let it take a situation like I have been through to open your eyes. You never know what’s waiting around the corner. That’s what I am trying to convey, and that’s how I am trying to live my life right now.”
And, should one of the new songs require a video, might a certain 40-ish video vixen be in order? “Let’s find her,” Hayes says.