Cancer is a wake-up call.
It prompts action, especially from oncologists who see its effects every day.
Six oncologists from around the country came together to create a rock band with the goal of increasing awareness of gynecological cancers, and they will be perpetuating that message Friday night with a documentary about the band at the Varsity Theatre and Saturday as the headliner for UNC Rex Cancer Care’s Rock for Hope Music Festival.
No Evidence of Disease, or N.E.D., formed in 2008 after they played at a medical conference as what was supposed to be a one-time thing. The covers they performed were so well-received that they decided to make the band real, and began writing and composing their own music.
Dr. Nimesh Nagarsheth, who plays the drums, came up with the name, which is a term they use to declare that a cancer patient is either in remission or isn’t showing any more signs or symptoms.
“‘No evidence of disease’ is something that we all use when we see patients on a daily basis,” Nagarsheth said. “It’s a really positive message.”
That positive message is also key in N.E.D.’s songwriting. The members said they draw inspiration not only from their careers, but also from life experiences in general. Their songs aren’t about cancer, but about life, pain, loss, joy — about where they come from.
Bass guitarist Dr. William “Rusty” Robinson said the band does occasionally steal lyrics from memorable experiences with patients.
One patient with ovarian cancer would come in for chemotherapy on the regular schedule — once every three weeks — and became close with some of the other patients. The group would get chemo treatments together while playing cards and singing songs. But one day when they got too rowdy, other patients complained about them and asked the boisterous ringleader to be removed. Her words were the inspiration for “Don’t Start the Party.”