Cameron's life was all about sports. He was involved in basketball, baseball, golf, and lastly, his favorite of all, football. He aspired to one day becoming an NFL player. His beloved team? The Seattle Seahawks!
For two months, Cameron started complaining of neck pain. He was taken to the doctor several times, each time being told it was most likely an athletic injury and was prescribed physical therapy. After all, his whole life was about playing sports. A week before diagnosis, Cameron started having severe neck pain, was dropping things, and eventually started losing feeling in his arm. After an original denial from insurance to get an MRI done, he finally got in. It wasn't much more than an hour after the MRI, that his parents, Katie and Chris, got a call telling them to head to Phoenix Children's Hospital. They had found a mass on Cameron's spinal cord. Life as they all had known it, had changed right then and there; just like that. Their 13 year old son had cancer.
Cameron went through a very risky surgery with some of the top surgeons in the country to get as much of the cancer off of his spine. With the tumor being so close to the spinal cord, there was a chance Cameron may not make it through surgery or suffer from permanent damage. In a fortunate turn of events at the TIME of surgery, based on what they could see, there was a huge chance Cameron's tumor could actually be benign. Based on these preliminary findings, the surgeon decided to not get too aggressive while trying to resect the cancer. His artery had already been slightly knicked, so there really wasn't a need to do more. The tumor is benign, right? Well, unfortunately, they were wrong. When the final pathology came back a week or so after surgery, it was determined that their original thought of a benign tumor was actually incorrect. Cameron's tumor was indeed malignant as originally thought. So now, Cameron's left with remnants of Chordoma cancer in his spine; all because preliminary pathology was incorrect, and because of this, the surgeon didn't feel the need to be more aggressive in removing it.
So here we are, present day. After much thought, research, and help from one of the world's TOP Radiation Oncologists, Cameron will be traveling to Boston to undergo a second and maybe third, very risky surgery to try and remove what is left of the cancer. Cameron will recover for 3 months after his operations. Once recovery is over, he will undergo 8 weeks of Proton Beam Radiation therapy in Boston.
As you can imagine, this road is going to be a very difficult one. Not just for this brave, kind, gentle hearted 13 year old boy, but for his family as well. Cameron has three siblings; Nathan (11), Gavin (7), and Andrew (13). Katie and Chris are his parents and they are doing the best they can. But it's hard watching their first born son, who's ambitions are just as big as his heart, are halted by this very aggressive and rare form of cancer. While they, like most people, aren't the type to ask for help, I along with the rest of our family and friends, want to do whatever we can to help them get through this financially. There will be travel back and forth to the Boston area, along with what one can only imagine as an unconceivable amount of medical expenses. From this point on, most of their medical expenses will be from out of network providers. How would anyone get through this...
If you can find it in your heart to help out this amazingly brave boy and his family, you will never truly know how much it will mean to them. In the truest sense, word's cannot explain...
- Brianna Smalley
- Linda Ipsen
- Kelli Tate-Larson
- Sara Starbuck
- Robert Dukes
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