30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2023
Cameron is an energetic, sweet, train-loving boy who adores his little brother, Evan and his Mommy and Daddy — and his whole extended family. Right before Easter of 2023, for four days, Cameron complained of dizziness, was sporadically vomiting, and then started walking with his head tilted. After various MRIs, it was discovered that Cam had a 2.5 cm brain tumor in this 4th ventricle. Thankfully the amazingly talented doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) were able to successfully remove the entire tumor. After being away from our sweet son for nearly 4 hours, we were reunited, and we started on his road to recovery while we painstakingly waited for the pathology reports to come back. On April 19th our world came crashing down and we were shaken to the core finding out Cameron was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, Posterior Fossa Group A (PFA) Ependymoma formally known as an Anaplastic Ependymoma. We knew he faced a long road ahead, but he took the first amazing steps by walking himself out of the CHOP PICU all by himself.
Four short weeks after his craniotomy, he was slated to start 33 sessions / six and half weeks of proton beam radiation at UPENN. Since the treatments were daily, we lived in Philadelphia during the week, which was the best for Cameron, but very hard for us as a family because we were missing his little brother Evan so very much. Thankfully, we were able to have weekend reunions where the boys greeted each other with a huge hug. We will be forever grateful for my parents who dropped everything to take care of Evan during Cameron’s hospital stay and treatment. Due to his age, Cameron had to be sedated for all 33 of his radiation sessions. In addition, he also had a port placed to avoid being poked daily. He was such a trooper and sailed right through all the treatments with only experiencing hair loss at the beam site, which coincidentally, is in the shape of a heart. Cam was a pure charmer, and he had all the nurses at radiation wrapped around his little finger along with making his oncologist laugh at every weekly clinic check-in.
We did receive very good and promising news that his tumor was local to his 4th ventricle and there was no evidence of drop metastasis into his spine via an MRI and lumbar puncture. Cameron also hasn’t needed any physical therapy or occupational therapy which is a miracle in itself given the surgery he endured. He even learned to ride a bike only two hours after a sedated radiation treatment which is a true testament to his resilience. We will now have monitoring with MRIs every three months to watch for reoccurrence and radiation changes. While we do not know what the future holds, we do know we fought a hard battle of infertility to bring Cameron into this world and we will be fighting even harder to keep him here, happy, and healthy!
We could have not gotten through this without all the amazing support of family, friends, and, of course, PCFLV! The second the word was out about Cameron and his diagnosis, the PCFLV team reached out to us immediately with loving arms and have been so incredibly generous and supportive of our family. Even though our journey has just begun, we know we will be a pilar of hope and support for families who are yet to also hear those fateful words of “your child has cancer.”
Written by Cameron’s mom, Cara
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip