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A New Jersey teenager battling cancer says he's using music as medicine. Hear his original songs.

How a teenager battling cancer is using music as a form of therapy
How a teenager battling cancer is using music as a form of therapy 03:46

WAYNE, N.J. - A senior lacrosse player at DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne says he loves making hits both on the field, and in the music studio. 

He says both activities are helping him in a much bigger battle - against cancer. 

For Marko Dobre, music is therapy

Marko Dobre, 18, is a study in contrasts. This year, his battle isn't against lacrosse opponents. In a room full of monitors, battling a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he may be receiving his best medicine. 

"Music therapy, basically. That's how I've been getting through chemo, and through everything basically," Dobre said. 

He even recorded in the hospital where, from the confines of a hospital bed, he found freedom in music. 

"When I went through chemo, and still going through. It's just -- put on a pair of headphones, record music, write music. It just helps me," Dobre said. "It kept me in a good mood. It kept me in a good mindset. I'm always smiling, I'm always laughing, and in order to stay that way, that's how music helps me."

Recently, 263 Studios in Totowa, New Jersey gifted him free studio time, enabling him to give his music the professional touch. 

"When I'm creating music, I want people to relate to it. That's the whole end goal, basically," he said. 

He said he especially enjoys when others say they enjoy listening to his music.

"And they're jamming out with their friends. That just melts my heart," Dobre said. "That's what keeps me smiling every day... that's the whole point. Have fun with music. If you don't have fun, what's the point in doing it?"

He's fighting a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with the same passion. 

"Monday through Friday, chemo every single day. And then that week my numbers are the lowest, so I can't go out anywhere. I just sit, rest, and then my numbers start recovering and then I'm better again," Dobre said. 

Well enough to overcome the fatigue and squeeze in a recording session, creating a melody that cancer can't silence. 

"The more I work, I feel like my mind gets off of what I'm going through," Dobre said. "Some days, I feel terrible, because chemo breaks you down. You feel like your soul left your body, you know?" 

Every note he sings is not just helping him battle for his life, but the essence of it. 

"Music is the medicine" 

So what's helping him more, the music or the medicine? 

"Probably the music. I feel like music is the medicine," he said. "When you feel down, when you feel upset, when you feel like you're going to throw up, nauseous from the medicines and chemo, it just... brings me to a better place, I'd say."

His musical journey began before his diagnosis, but in his current music, you hear a man who refuses to be defined by the toll the illness has taken on him.

"When I look at myself, I don't feel like I'm me. I'm a confident kid, but sometimes it gets me. I'm like, bro, what am I looking at?" Dobre said.

Dobre's journey reminds us that even in our most profound struggles, we can forge forward, create, live.

"I see myself touring. Just dancing on stage. People going crazy," he said.

Dobre says his doctors hope he can be healthy enough to play in DePaul Catholic's final home game of the season at the end of May.

You can hear Dobre's music on Spotify and his Instagram account.

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