Survivor Profile: Cameron MacDonald
Cameron MacDonald is a champion on and off the field.
Cameron, 16, is a student at Williamsville North High School and an avid lacrosse player whose determination is evident not only as an athlete, but as a cancer survivor.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last June, and underwent chemotherapy treatment at Roswell Park. His strength and support from others helped him through his battle against cancer. Now finished with his treatment, Cameron is back on the lacrosse field, and participating in many RPCI events, including The Ride For Roswell and Carly’s Crossing.
The battle wasn’t easy, but Cameron learned a lot.
“Before, playoffs were the most important thing, but putting things in perspective, one game really doesn’t make a difference when kids might not live,” he said. “I feel very fortunate.”
His mother, Nancy, took a few lessons from the experience as well. “I’ve learned that it’s tremendously scary as a parent, and to a child, it’s unbelievable,” she said. “I also learned that the pediatric unit at Roswell is a very special part of the hospital. You’re surrounded by children and families similar to yourself, and that’s wonderful.”
Cameron’s diagnosis was not the first time that the MacDonald family was touched by cancer. Carly Collard Cottone, the founder of Carly’s Club, was a close friend of Cameron’s sister, Abigail; Carly lost her battle with cancer in 2002.
Cameron and his family have supported Carly’s Club since its founding by organizing bake sales and lemonade stands to raise money. While these fundraisers were initially a way to honor Carly’s legacy and help others, down the road the family found itself utilizing these very support services.
“I can’t think of a better place than Roswell for a child who’s sick,” Nancy said. “From the day it all started, every day we were treated with compassion, and I felt like everyone understood what we were going through.”
For Cameron, getting back on the lacrosse field after treatment was his main goal, and his determination helped him get there. Watch a video, featuring Cameron and his mom at a recent game.
“Every day is a celebration,” Nancy said. “Every time you can do something after treatment that you used to do before, it’s a huge milestone.”
Over 3,000 survivors, like Cameron, and their families will celebrate life at RPCI's Cancer Survivors Day on Sunday, June 12, 2011.