Chandler rallies for boy, 11, facing 3rd cancer battle SanTan Sun News

Chandler rallies for boy, 11, facing 3rd cancer battle

April 25th, 2019 | by SanTan Sun News
Chandler rallies for boy, 11, facing 3rd cancer battle
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By KAYLA RUTLEDGE
Staff Writer

A Chandler community has rallied around 11-year-old Kameron Sherman as he faces his third bout with rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive soft tissue and bone cancer.

Neighbors came together April 16 to raise money for the Sherman family at Zzeeks Pizza and Wings, which donated 20 percent of total profits from the day to the family.

The event was also a testament to the community’s support of Kameron, as local organizations like the Chandler Police Department, teachers from his school, Basha Elementary and even strangers donated over $8,500 worth of baskets raffled off throughout the evening. An additional GoFundMe campaign has raised over $50,000 for the family.

“The power of this community and their constant support has really helped Kameron and his family more than I think anyone realizes. This has been a scary time for [the Shermans] but with the community and God behind them, I don’t think they’ve ever felt alone,” said family friend Jennifer Lyle.

Lyle said before his diagnosis, Kameron was a typical boy. He was active, a fan of practical jokes and pranks, highly involved with his church and a kind and courageous leader in school.

But a spill on the field in March of 2017 led to an alarmingly large bruise and a trip to the hospital, where doctors discovered the aggressive cancer as well as an orange-sized tumor behind Kameron’s bladder.

“For a 9-year-old kid who was really social and athletic and outgoing it’s tough because his entire world and way of life changed,” said Lyle.

On the day of his 9th birthday, Kameron started 54 weeks of chemo, six weeks of radiation and a dramatic change in lifestyle.

“He wasn’t able to enjoy the things he did before, and when his counts were low, when his immune system was vulnerable, he couldn’t be exposed to outside germs so his whole life changed very quickly. He could’ve been kept inside from a few days to a few weeks,” Lyle said. “I mean, it looked totally different from the life he was living before.”

Nearly a year later, Kameron was deemed cancer-free and his life proceeded as normal. For a few months, Kameron relished in the small joys he missed over the last year, as he spent his summer indulging in sports and hanging out with friends.

Yet the celebration was short-lived.

In August, Kameron went to the hospital after experiencing a few symptoms he had grown all too familiar with and found he had relapsed.

Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer and the rarity of survival for children with it of Kameron’s age, Lyle said there was no protocol doctors knew to follow. So, Kameron’s plan of treatment was produced on the spot.

In addition to an impromptu treatment plan, Kameron’s education schedule was determined on the spot as well, and going to school depended on how he felt that day.

For most of his fourth-grade year, Kameron was home-schooled by Basha Elementary teacher Beth Northrop, a two-time cancer survivor herself.

Knowing his struggles, Northrop offered to teach Kameron from home while keeping him on pace to be easily integrated into a classroom setting “on his good days.”

By Christmas, Kameron was deemed cancer free once again. This time, however, Kameron noticed there was no customary bell to ring to announce his victory over cancer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he was being treated.

“He thought when kids end this horrendous battle with chemo, they should be able to ring the bell. So, the family worked with the Phoenix Children’s hospital foundation so there was a small ceremony for it and Kameron got to be the first kiddo to ring the bell,” said Lyle.

Though Kameron was able to ring the bell once before, he may not get the chance again.

Not long after his victorious cry of a cancer-free body, the disease arrived unannounced. This time more aggressive and present than ever.  

“At this point i would say only god knows [what is in the future for Kameron’s health]. The cancer has spread, and it has spread beyond what modern medicine can fix. [The Sherman family is] truly living every moment to its fullest right now,” said Lyle.

Kameron now has to sleep with oxygen to relieve the pressure and fluid around his heart, and naps frequently throughout the day. Though between naps Lyle said he is always sure to smile and crack a joke or two.

“He is amazing, and again, through all of this he has maintained a smile and a sense of humor. Of course, there has been times that he didn’t feel well. Chemotherapy is horrible but he has a good attitude,” said Lyle.

On the family’s GoFundMe page, Kameron’s mother, Debbie, said Kameron is now taking a chemo pill in addition to his other treatments which has slowed down the cancer’s progression, “for us, that means we have been blessed with a little more time with Kameron,” Debbie said, adding;

“Bryce (Kameron’s father) and I continue to be amazed and humbled by all of the support that we have gotten and continue to get from friends, family, church members, school teachers, coworkers, neighbors, etc.

“The amount of support has helped us realize that if we need anything, our ‘village’ is there to help. We our doing our best to literally live our life right now moment by moment. We cherish those moments when Kameron is having a good time or joking around with us.”

To help the Sherman family: visit gofundme.com/kamerons-medical-fund.

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