Talented young musician says two-year battle with bone cancer inspired him to pursue music dream

BillyFest at The Brickmakers pub. Left to right, Natalie Clayton (Billy's aunt), Rebecca Lawrence (B

BillyFest at The Brickmakers pub. Left to right, Natalie Clayton (Billy's aunt), Rebecca Lawrence (Billy's mum), Billy Clayton, Carol Clayton (Billy's grandmother) and Nick Barker (event organiser). Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A talented young musician says his ongoing battle with cancer inspired him to pursue his dream of making music.

Billy Clayton, who is aged 20 and from Norwich, is battling a rare form of cancer. Photo: Rebecca La

Billy Clayton, who is aged 20 and from Norwich, is battling a rare form of cancer. Photo: Rebecca Lawrence - Credit: Archant

Billy Clayton was just 18 when he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer, known as Ewing Sarcoma.

Since then, the former City of Norwich School student has endured 27 months of intensive chemotherapy and 10 weeks of daily radiotherapy.

He has also undergone two major surgeries to replace his right femur with a metal plate and his hip.

Now aged 20, Mr Clayton's battle is still not over. A scan in September this year revealed the cancer had spread to his lungs.

But he is refusing to let the disease beat him. Instead, the experience has pushed him to follow his passion for making music.

Last Thursday, after almost two years of producing songs in the bedroom of his mother's house in Norwich, he gave his first public performance.

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And on Saturday he performed at another event in the city aimed at supporting his ongoing treatment.

Mr Clayton said: 'One of the reasons I started self-releasing [tracks] was because illness literally robbed me of the ability to do so much, so I decided to do what I've always wanted.'

'Music is more than important to me. I use it as the biggest form of escapism. I take my headphones to every hospital admission I've ever had and I loved it before I had this reason to rely on it.'

Mr Clayton, who is now studying at Access Creative College in Norwich, was diagnosed with cancer a week after receiving his A-levels in August 2015.

His mum, Rebecca Lawrence, said he had been complaining of a pain in his leg for several months, which was later found to be a tumour in his thighbone.

After months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the tumour was removed in April 2016.

But just as he was beginning to recover, Mr Clayton started to feel pain elsewhere in his body.

Subsequent scans revealed the cancer had spread to his hip and shoulder. His family was told the heartbreaking news on Christmas Eve 2016.

Mrs Lawrence, 46, who works as a nurse, said despite the hardships her son has faced, he has shown bravery throughout the ordeal.

'It has been horrendous for Billy, he has been in treatment pretty much constantly [since being diagnosed],' she said.

'But he never complains or asks 'why me?' He is truly an inspiration.

'The chemotherapy makes him extremely tired, but his music is a positive for him. It will get him through this.'

This year has been another challenging 12 months for Mr Clayton. Not only has he faced even more intensive treatment, but he was told the cancer had spread to his lungs.

He started chemotherapy for the third time in October in the hope the cancer will go into remission. Should it do so, he is hoping to receive a stem cell transplant.

To listed to Billy Clayton's music - including his second EP 'Bloom' - visit https://soundcloud.com/billyclay/sets/bloomHis mother has set up a crowdfunding page to help support her son's treatment. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/rp4aav-help-billy-beat-cancer to donate.

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