Home 5 Real-Life Stories 5 Kids with Cancer 5 Meet 2024 Ambassador Camden: A Legacy of Strength, Courage, and Resilience

Meet 2024 Ambassador Camden: A Legacy of Strength, Courage, and Resilience

February 1, 2024
4 min read
Camden in suit and tie, smiling

#CammersTough is more than just a hashtag. It represents the story of a boy who fought cancer with incredible strength and courage. His story of resilience in the face of continued hardship is what made him an inspiration to others.

Camden (a.k.a. Cam) won over the hearts of both peers and adults with his precious smile and kind heart. He was an old soul, and his witty personality created lasting connections with everyone he met. He enjoyed what most little boys do – sports, building Legos, acquiring Pokémon cards, playing video games, and snuggling his puppy, Dixie. Most of all, he adored his little brother, Garrett, and parents, Megan and Drew.

Camden and family

Camden with his parents and brother, Garrett.

Cam was 3 years old, in preschool, and had just become a big brother when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in February 2017. He immediately started treatment at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland. In September 2018, about a year and a half after his initial diagnosis, an abnormal blood test showed signs of relapse. A bone marrow aspiration confirmed that it wasn’t a relapse. Instead, Cam had a new type of leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), possibly caused by the chemotherapy used to treat his initial diagnosis. AML is very aggressive, and the treatment is equally aggressive. For the next four plus years, Cam endured intensive chemotherapy, two bone marrow transplants, severe graft-versus-host disease, endless procedures and surgeries, a clinical trial in St. Louis, and several relapses in between. Despite Cam’s resilience and fight through it all, it wasn’t enough. On December 16, 2022, Cam passed away at the age of 9. His mom, Megan, shared the difficult news with his loving community:

There is no easy way to say it and no alternate version that might make it any less painful to hear. I’ve written so many hard posts over the years, but this one is by far the toughest. So here is the raw truth. Early Friday morning, at Oakland Children’s Hospital, Camden passed away from his relapsed leukemia. Both Drew and I were there with him, and he was surrounded by all the wonderful nurses who cared for him lovingly over the last six years. We have witnessed him go through so much suffering for so long, and now there is none. We have seen him beat leukemia 3 times, but now lose gracefully on the 4th. There is no more pain, no more hospitals, no more biopsies and procedures, and no more relapses. There is just…peace.

Left - Camden with his dad, Middle - Camden with his mom, Right - Camden with his nurses.

Left – Camden with his dad, Middle – Camden with his mom, Right – Camden with his nurses.

Cam’s family has been involved with St. Baldrick’s for many years, with his dad a multi-year shavee and fundraiser. Megan said, “Having been part of the pediatric cancer world for so many years, it is painfully clear that we owe these kids more options with better outcomes. That is why St. Baldrick’s means so much to us and why fundraising for pediatric cancer research is so critically important.”

Camden with his parents and brother, Garrett.

Camden with his parents and brother, Garrett.

Last September, Drew and his co-participant and friends of the CammersTough team raised nearly $14,000 for childhood cancer research. While fundraising in memory of his son, Drew explained, “Over Cam’s six year battle we continued to see advancements in therapies. But unfortunately for us, the progress wasn’t fast enough, the options were not effective enough, and we couldn’t find a cure. We can’t sit by and watch others lose the fight, too. Shaving heads and raising money is the easy part. It’s the battle these cancer kids face that’s the toughest part.”

Camden shaving his dad's head in 2020.

Camden shaving his dad’s head in 2020.

Despite spending so much time in the hospital over the years, Cam still developed incredibly meaningful relationships with friends and family, nurses and doctors, teachers and classmates. Throughout his life, he inspired others with the courage he showed during the hardest times in his cancer fight – none of which could bring down his beautiful spirit. Honoring Cam’s memory is how his family celebrates the permanent mark he left on us all. And that, ultimately, is his everlasting story.

Honor Cam’s memory with a donation supporting research into better treatments for kids with cancer.