I braced myself for my interview with Don Ready.
His latest submission to our Voting Show had to do with his journey with cancer, and I prepared myself to hold back the tears as I heard his story.
But had I known the man, I would have known this wasn’t necessary.
Because instead of encountering an illness battered-soul, I found a shining beacon of joy.
As it turns out, this was his natural state, something anyone who knows him can attest to. And I knew right then that whatever story he had to tell was a good one.
The recounting of the events wasn’t one of sorrow or grief but one of discovery and triumphant victory.
Ultimately, I just prayed that I could do his testimony justice so that others would be as blessed as I was in hearing it.

A Happy Child

Don’s childhood was unconventionally happy.
He grew up in Murray, Kentucky, where his mom took him while she was still in college. From the very beginning, she would take him with her to class, where he would sit quietly and entertain himself, much to the professor’s delight.
Although no longer with his mother, Don’s father, now a pastor, was always in his life- and both parents made it a point to instill faith in their son.
So when my mom went to college, she found the Lord, and she started following him.
If you could describe my childhood, like, it was so filled with an intentional, parental discipleship that it’s actually crazy.
My mom is the best mom in the world when it comes to teaching your children the things of God.
I was able to ask her questions about God. Like, “oh mama, if God is real, then why this?” And she didn’t treat me like I was crazy.
In middle school, I got picked on a lot because I’ve always been a bigger guy, right.
So people picked on me because I was a bigger guy. But I was always happy.Eph. 4:29
Like, I was just super happy, kid. I was just a joyous kid. I think, obviously, I think that made a lot of kids jealous. Right? What’s wrong with it?
I think it was just like: this dude, happy all the time, right? so, like, I got picked on a lot, and my mom really helped walk me through, finding God in that.
Don’s mom was an active member of her congregation, so he always found himself at church Monday through Friday.
So, I’ve always been in church and been around church.
So I had a wonderful childhood.
If I could give a model woman away to any child in the world, I would have wanted to give my mom away because she was that good.
With his faith firmly cemented by his parents, Don stayed with his mom in Murray until the third grade; after which they moved to Madisonville where she was on her way to being a mental health counselor, and he was able to continue school all the way to high school.
Two-Faced

But like most church kids, there was a bit of a falling away from the Lord.
Because I grew up in church, I knew all the right answers. Right.
Those are two totally separate things. So, you know, you could have a whole lot of knowledge, but even the word says: knowledge is just puffed up, if it’s just knowledge.
I had a season probably from my sophomore to my senior year where I was like two faced for sure.
I was on both sides of the fence. Like at church, I was the Christian boy, right, but then at school I was drinking, smoking, you know, messed around, you know, sexually and all that stuff.
I was doing everything that the world was doing, you know what I’m saying? But I think even in the midst of that, I still had a form of relationship with God, right? I just didn’t have it because I knew that God was real. And I knew that he wanted a relationship with me.
I just didn’t understand it in the world of high school.
When you’re in high school, it’s hard to think outside of high school.
I couldn’t see the forest for the trees .
The lifestyle of drinking and casual sex continued into Don’s first year in college. The first six months of which, he said, was the worst season of his life. He partied and drank heavily, going to class intoxicated to repeat the same process the next day.
So that was the lifestyle that I kind of developed. And then I realized, like, man, I really don’t have a relationship with God that is solid.
Then I got invited to this thing called Campus Outreach, it was the campus ministry, and I met this guy named Greg Peterman, and he started to disciple me.
And then all the truths that I already knew, from growing up in church, it was like God was bringing those to life for me, you know what I’m saying? And that’s kind of where I started.
After that I started being a part of campus outreach, and then everything kind of changed from there.
It was here where the Lord would start using Don’s talents for his purpose.
Worshiper

Don had been doing music his entire life. From being in the choir at church as well as high school, his gifts were obvious to his parents.
Me and my buddy had this like this, clean R&B kind of thing that we were doing in high school. like baby, baby can-it-be type stuff. You know what I’m saying? Like So we had that kind of stuff in high school because my mama wouldn’t let me, you know, do anything else.
Yeah, but I had a studio in my house. Whenever I was in high school, my mom and dad invested in the studio for me because they both knew I was called to music. Right.
My mom has said her whole life, like God told me you’re going to be a worshiper.
And I was like, yo, that’s dope.
It was after Don joined campus ministry that this word would come to fruition, but not in the way you would expect.
And then during the season that I started going to campus outreach, they were getting me into public speaking and different things like that.
So, like, I was emceeing events, different stuff like that.
So, and I started to develop my desire to really create music again.
And, and at this point I’m like, man, I want to be the voice that I did not have. Right.
I want to make the music that I did not have. So, ever since college, I’ve started making music and I had some success, and then I had some failures, and then I, you know, some other things happened in my life.
In the most recent places God told me to serve my brothers.
My brothers are younger than me. They’re like, ten years younger than me.
So one of them just graduated high school, and the other one is going to graduate in a year or so. My brothers loved my music.
What really started everything musically for me was my brother messaged me one of my old songs, and he was like: I need another song like this.
This was in 2022.Eph. 4:29
He’s like, I need another song like this. And then I wrote this song called Heavenly Poetry. and, and it blew up on TikTok. Just went crazy. so, that’s really kind of how it all got started. It was because I was trying to serve my brother, and God’s like, I can honor that. You know what I’m saying?
The C word

I had not realized that Don’s success had been so recent. The revelation in that moment gave me pause because it meant the man before had been on a rollercoaster in the last two years.
It was time to get to the story I was here for.
So, back in March of last year, I had this little, little knot on my chest.
Had a lot of coughing, like, I was coughing all the time.
I didn’t understand why it was actually hurting, [it was] harming my vocals because I was coughing so much and I was losing my voice all the time.
I was feeling fatigued and I was having night sweats.
I thought I didn’t know what it was for, but I noticed that I was sweating at nighttime- and those are symptoms.
So those are like, easy signs like, hey, something’s wrong. Right? And you need to probably get this checked out.
Well, I noticed it in November of 2022, but it was growing. And in March, I started going to the doctor because I was like, okay, this thing’s not getting smaller. And I was trying to figure out what was going on. So I started going to the doctor.
[They said] You know, it’s nothing. It’s nothing. We don’t know what it is. It’s fine kind of deal.
Then one of my breasts starts to really increase in size.
So I go to a different doctor because I’m like, this doctor’s not getting anywhere.
And he’s like, I want to look deeper into this. This could be more serious than what we think.
And then he wants to remove some lymph nodes from my arm. So he does that, and then the test results come back that I was positive for lymphoma. It’s a type of cancer.
So obviously like before that I, you know, I was just getting to a place where my health was, was getting back to where I wanted it to be.
I was working out every day. I was losing weight. I’ve always been a bigger guy but I’ve always moved fine, yu know, even though a big guy. I’ve always been able to move and and do what I need to do.
But I was trying to get back to, like, to my high school size [when he played basketball].
And then this thing hit where it was like, oh, gosh.
Like, I have cancer.
You know, I’m a 20 something year old with cancer. This is, this is different.
Understandably Don was shaken by the news.
So I believe there’s two different types of people in life.
There’s people who believe the cup’s half empty and people who believe the cup is half full. Right? I’m one of those people who believe the cup is half full.
So I believe, like, I’m super optimistic.
I believe that God can do anything, but I also trust God all the way into death, right?
It’s kind of scary saying that, right? But I do. I trust, I trust the Lord.
I remember whenever we first got the diagnosis for about 30 minutes when I was reading the diagnosis for my cancer. I definitely freaked out, right? Like I was like, you know, like a panic attack kind of thing.
I was kind of having one of those, for like, 30 minutes.
I’m surprised it didn’t last longer, and then it was like the presence of God just kind of washed over me, right?
And I just began to spend time with God and spend time in the Word and, it’s so crazy because in life, people always say, I would die for you, right?
But I felt like God in that season said, “Will you live for me.”
It’s easy to say, oh, I’ll jump in front of a bullet and die for you. But it’s harder to say I’ll live for you.
Even in the midst of having something so challenging and so hard.
So I made a decision with the Lord. I was like, Lord, I trust you. And I’m not just going to lay down. I’m going to do everything that I can, everything that I’m capable. So I recorded songs while I was on chemo.
In fact Don did more than just that.
After my first chemo, the next weekend, I led worship at a women’s conference. And then the weekend after that, I was on stage in LA doing Glo Vember [with Miles Minnick].
I was just on such a spiritual high, like. Like
I was just like, God, I trust you, you know what I’m saying? Like, I’m. I’m actually getting goosebumps now because I remember, you know, I remember the season, you know what I’m saying?
The diagnosis came in September 2023 and by the end of October he had his first chemo treatment. From October 2023 to the middle of February 2024 he had six rounds of chemo. For 4 months he has spent most of his time lying down- he compared it to having the flu without nasal symptoms.
The body aches and the weakness lasted nearly three weeks, after which he felt better only to receive another treatment again. But unfortunately all the misery did not deliver the expected results. So on top of the chemo, he did 18 rounds of radiation, which luckily took him to near remission.
Believe Me

Despite the jubilance that came with his victory over cancer, there was a steel to Don that surfaced when he recalled almost losing everything God had given him.
I had decided in my mind and in my heart, I am not going to let the enemy win. I’m not going to let him steal my joy.
I’m not going to let him steal my peace. I can’t, you know what I’m saying? That’s not. That’s not who I am. That’s not who God created me to be.
One scripture that I hold on to, I believe in second Corinthians five. It says God is making his appeal through us.
So like God is saying to the world, I am a good God.
I’m a loving God.
I’m a powerful God.
You want to know why? Look at these people. Right, and they’ll show you how powerful I am.
So, like, I take that responsibility with a lot of courage and I’m like, okay, God, I’m going to be everything that you want me to be.
And even in the midst of what the enemy tried to create to destroy me, I’m going to allow it to build my faith.
A quick story.
So me and my wife were driving in the car one day.
Do you know the percentage of artists who are actually successful in music? Do you know that?
.003% of artists are successful.
One day, me and my wife, we were driving and we felt prompted by the Holy Spirit, to look up that statistic.
And we looked up that statistic and God was like, you’ve already beat the odds.
When I tell you a level of empowerment came washed over us.
Like I’m like, yo.
He’s like, if you can believe me for .003%, the percentages of beating cancer are way higher than that.
So from that point, we were like, we’re not going to sit no pity parties.
We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. You know what I’m saying? We’re going to get up.
You know, nothing wrong with dealing with the intensity of a situation, but we’re not going to stay there. You know?
We’re going to say, okay, God, I trust you, and we’re going to get up and do what God has called us to do.
And my prayer is that man, I’m able to bless so many people and empower people to really trust the Lord, like even in the midst of a valley, to trust them.
Lord Is The Server

I had listened to the song Don submitted for our show as I prepped for our interview.
I had expected something like “Heavenly Poetry,” but what I got was unexpectedly beautiful.
Don’s voice rang clear, his early R&B roots showing. But the song was not one of suffering or reproach at the unfairness of his illness but instead of wonder and amazement at God’s faithfulness.
Knowing that he had written this song during his battle with cancer made it even more awe-inspiring. A particular lyric stood out to me, one that I replayed in my mind over and over: “I could not outlast your patience; you were right there waiting for me.”
With its echo still present, I asked Don to tell me about the inspiration behind the song.
I believe the patience of God has force to it.
I couldn’t outrun the patience that God had for me in this season. You know, God has patience for us in seasons that are hard.
He’s okay that we doubt him. You know what I’m saying?
Like, he he’s not angry at us because we don’t because we’re going through something hard and we don’t understand, you know,
I couldn’t outlast God’s patience for me in this season.
I couldn’t outrun his heart because he was right there waiting.
Every single time he’s there waiting.
And he and he wants to wait.
Like a server at a restaurant, how they are just waiting on you.
The Lord is the server that never leaves the table.
He’s just sitting there waiting.
Ae’s like, you just let me know what you need and I’ll get it. And I’ll stay right here.
I’ll get what you need, and I’ll stay right here. So if you need me, I’ll be right here.
That’s how I view God. Like I view him that way.
So there’s nothing that I could sit around and wonder about or think about or be frustrated about, or be angry about that the Lord is not already been [through].
He’s the God of the present, he’s the God of the past, and he’s the God of the future.
He’s already been in all three spaces at the same time. I’m just living in the moment. Right. so, there’s no way for me to outlast his patience, his grace, his love for me, it’s impossible.

Enemy On Notice

Don’s near remission means that he still has one more step in his treatment, which is to do a stem cell transplant. In this treatment, his stem cells will be taken from his bone marrow so that it will help him recover, and high doses of chemo will eradicate any cancer cells left. Even though he knows he will be out a few months, Don has big plans.
I am very, very passionate and driven. I was going to use the word maniac. But I’m very, very passionate and driven.
And I believe God has created me to make music for people.
So right now, this month, I’m working on completing about eight records. Right. So.
So I want to release the entire time I’m on treatment.
I already have the content prepared for social media, so I’m working really, really hard right now.
Expect a lot of music.
Expect a lot of self reflection where I’m reflecting on the season that I’m in.
Expect a lot of passion.
Expect a lot of fight. Right? like, I’m talking. But
When I say fight, I mean, I’m talking about like David Energy. Like, who is this uncircumcised Philistine that tried to give me cancer?
Who is that?
Who is this enemy that tried to kill what God has been doing?
Like, my music career has absolutely exploded, and we’re right in the middle of that the enemy tried to throw something at me.
With a renewed sense of strength from his now healthy body and mind, Don wants to regain some of what he has lost.
I’ve been getting my physical health back, so I’m getting my mind back, and now I’m getting a little bit more of that, like heavenly swag back where I’m like: catch me outside.
I’m getting some of that swag back. and, and I’m ready to take back everything the enemy tried to steal and then some.
I need everything and the people who were with me, I need them to get stuff back too.
My wife, Yung Kriss, my whole team, they supported me through this whole thing, and they’ve lost a lot.
They’ve had to sacrifice a lot in this season and I want them to get everything back, too.
So somebody send a message to the enemy and hell to get nervous.
He’s got no way he’s out.
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