AVON LAKE, Ohio - Christian music producer Ryan Fischer has one mission in life: to spread the word of God through music.
"I started belting out when I was in the fifth grade. My faith and passion is what drives in me in my life," explained Fischer.
The Avon Lake has man founded not one, but two bands well known in Christian contemporary concert circles. Many in northeast Ohio have probably heard his group Praise-Apella.
The four person vocal group has spent the last six years touring the United States and countries around the world, with their unique style of vocal harmony-based music and percussion.
They have performed with many national Christian artists, Michael W. Smith, MercyMe, Brandon Heath, Nicole C. Mullen, and many others.
Ryan's other band, 220b, is newer and offers an eclectic mix of pop, rock and an urban beat. But the message is the same: to teach people faith through the gospel.
These days, faith is more important than ever before to Ryan and his wife Shawnda.
"We were playing basketball together, but I became out of breath after just two layups. I began to experience pain under my ribcage and night sweats," Ryan described.
After several months of testing and procedures, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed Ryan with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer in which cells in the lymphatic system start to grow uncontrollably. Ryan is now undergoing chemotherapy.
"I have 17 more weeks and who knows after that," Ryan said. "God willing, it will be gone. But I don't know that for sure."
Ryan recently co-wrote "Only You" for others going through a crisis. He penned it to be a testimony, an inspiration to others in times of trouble and worry, a time of being alone.
WEB EXTRA: Click below to listen to "Only You"
But he never realized he would be knocked down a few months later with a cancer diagnosis.
"As my wife and I were walking out of a treatment I said, 'you know, that song was written for myself and I didn't even know it at the time,'" Ryan reflected. "There has to be a reason for what's happened and I look at it as a way to share my faith."
Ryan resigned from his job to undergo the rigors of chemotherapy. He knows he needs the energy to fight the disease attacking his body. Meanwhile, his wife continues to work and the couple does have health insurance. However, there are additional expenses that won't be covered.
The Fischers know social media is changing the way we "give" back to others, so they have created a fund on the social media website, "GoFundMe." In the first 13 days having the page, the Fischers received $400 in donations. Some people gave from as far away as Guatemala.
"I never knew our music went that far. So out of bad, came something good," Ryan said. "Before I got sick, were involved in a lot of ministries, including the City Misson. We are looking forward to that day when we can give back again."
Ryan hopes to start singing again soon. Until then, he has a powerful message for his fans, friends and those who've fallen on hard times.
"You can get up and get living or just fall down and start to die. I chose to live. I'm going to live through this."
If you would like to help Ryan and his family with medical costs, visit http://www.gofundme.com/1zo6n8. For every donation of $10 or more, you will get a free Praise-Apella CD.
If you would like to know how crowdfunding sites work, how you can set up your own, plus the pros and the cons of the donation page, watch NewsChannel5 at 11 p.m. Consumer Advocate Jenn Strathman will have more on Ryan's story, plus how his wife set-up the page and what other ways consumers are using social media sites to make money -- both for good and bad.
Watch Praise-Apella perform on the Web:
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