Each week, Marple Newtown Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and even sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments. This week we highlight Cameron Mathes, a seventh-grade student at Paxon Hollow Middle School and a cancer survivor.
Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Cameron Mathes
Whiz Kid's Age: 13
Whiz Kid's School: Paxon Hollow Middle School
Whiz Kid's Accomplishment: Cameron is a childhood cancer hero and is an ambassador of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Cameron spoke before hundreds of his peers at this year's Potter Cup about childhood cancer. And just recently he spoke after mass at St. Anastasia Church to promote a lemonade stand that his baseball team was hosting. Cameron has been invited to speak at a MAGPI (Mid-Atlantic Gigapop in Philadelphia for Internet2) virtual lemonade stand at University of Pennsylvania on May 22.
Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness: "I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 3," shares Cameron. "I don't really remember it but I've seen pictures–I had no hair and I was pretty chubby from all the drugs."
One year later, after going through more tests and hospital visits, Cameron was diagnosed cancer free at age 4. Though he has only faint memories of that time, Cameron shares what he does remember.
"I remember I was hungry a lot because I had to eat in the middle of the night. I also know that I didn't do too much stuff and I was just lying on the couch a lot," recalls Cameron.
But Cameron overcame that painful period and soon became very active on the field. Cameron started playing t-ball at the age of 5 with the Marple Township Little League, and continues to play baseball for St. Annies in the CYO league and at Paxon Hollow.
"Baseball is my favorite sport," says Cameron. "...And basketball too. I like all the Philadelphia teams like the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and the Sixers."
Those dark days are long gone for Cameron and says he never really thinks about that time only when he's asked about. But Cameron is okay talking about it, he says.
"I think it's great I overcame it and I can tell everyone else about my story. It feels good to be an ambassador, but it shows that I'm helping a great cause. I want to give a little bit of Alex to everyone," says Cameron.
Though he's talking to children with cancer about his own story, Alex's Lemonade is actually been opening his eyes up about childhood cancer.
"Sometimes it's tough to talk to them because I feel like I didn't have it as bad as some people and that I got lucky that I survived it," shares Cameron. "But I want to try to raise money for people who don't have it as lucky."
Cameron says he hopes to become a professional baseball player someday and is looking forward to this year's PEEC trip as well as entering eighth grade next year.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," says Cameron.
Cameron hopes to continue speaking about childhood cancer and to spread awareness.