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Dustin Chapman is a busy guy. He’s pursuing a triple major in college. He takes guitar lessons on the side. And he dreams of a day when he becomes a country music star, much like one of his idols, Scotty McCreery.

He’s also in the battle of his life.

Dustin has been diagnosed with an incurable disease (achalasia) that affects the esophagus’ ability to carry food to the stomach. But he doesn’t let it slow him down. Heck, he doesn’t even like talking about it much.

RELATED: Scotty McCreery’s sweet duet with an ailing fan is one of our favorite moments of the year

“I try to stay focused on everything I have going on,” Dustin told Rare Country in a recent interview. “But yes ma’am, it makes eating near impossible. It definitely takes a toll physically.”

Yes, he calls women “ma’am.”

And yes, good manners are still charming.

RELATED: Take a trip down memory lane with this Scotty McCreery video

It was his medical ailment that placed Dustin in one of his darkest moments, and ended up spurring a meeting between him and Scotty earlier this year at Dustin’s North Carolina home. “I was really sick, and my mom asked what she could do to make me feel better, and all I wanted was to play music with Scotty McCreery,” Dustin told Rare Country. “Scotty has always been someone I have looked up to, especially the way he has stayed true to his faith throughout his career. He’s also very humble and kind to all of his fans.”

This kindness showed up in a very special way when Scotty and his then-girlfriend (now fiancée) Gabi went to meet with Dustin earlier this year, resulting in the two men singing together on Scotty’s hit “See You Tonight” and Dustin’s original song, “Break Me Down.” Dustin’s video of their meeting went viral.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Dustin told us.

It’s this moment that currently has Scotty nominated for Fan Moment of the Year in the Rare Country Awards, and it’s up to you to decide the winner. Vote now through Dec. 13 at RareCountryAwards.com. Winners will be revealed during a livestreamed concert event on Dec. 14 in Nashville.

Scotty McCreery inspires an aspiring country artist to fight some major health odds Photo courtesy of Dustin Chapman
Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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