Chandler boy fighting rare type of cancer again - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler boy fighting rare type of cancer again

September 14th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Chandler boy fighting rare type of cancer again

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor

The community is rallying around a 10-year-old Chandler boy who is fighting cancer for the second time.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover costs to treat Kameron Sherman, a fifth-grader at Basha Elementary School, who must undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiation.

He was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer. He was originally told he had that same type of cancer in March 2017, and after 54 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, he was declared cancer-free, according to his mother, Debbie Sherman.

Then, just weeks ago, Kameron started experiencing double vision that would come and go. An MRI revealed the cancer had returned, this time at the base of his skull, Debbie said.

“It’s one of the most helpless things you can watch your child go through,” she said. “I think overall this has been a devastating 17, 18 months for our family. We’ve had to trudge through a lot of darkness.”

However, relatives, friends and neighbors have helped the family “see the light,” Debbie added.

“All through this we’ve seen the light, from friends and community,” she said. “Neighbors put together gold ribbon yard stakes with his name on them to show support. It’s really refreshing to know that there’s still a small-town community feel in a big, metropolitan community.”

The GoFundMe campaign, as of Sept. 10, had raised $36,925 of its $150,000 goal, and Debbie said she and her family are grateful for everyone’s donations.

“We’re not about the money,” she said. “But money is one less stressor that my husband and I have to worry about. It really narrows what we can allow the public to help us with.”

The donations can help cover gasoline costs for traveling to a Phoenix Children’s Hospital clinic in the East Valley for chemotherapy and a Scottsdale medical center for radiation.

“Because his cancer is so rare and it’s so aggressive, there’s not a lot of research on it,” Debbie said. “Right now we’ve had discussions with his oncologist about options. There’s no protocol. Now it’s like, well you can try A, B or C.

“Our best option for Kameron was to put him back on chemotherapy on different drugs than he was on last year.”

Kameron started the chemotherapy several days ago and will continue with it once a week for nine to 12 months and also get radiation on his head, Debbie said.

Besides the GoFundMe account, some friends of the Sherman family held a golf tournament to raise money for Kameron, Basha Elementary School has held fundraisers to assist the family and area businesses have also helped out.

When Kameron was first diagnosed with cancer, his school teacher brought him a bag full of cards from his classmates at the hospital. Kameron is being homeschooled while he goes through treatments.

“We’re humbled by the response we’ve gotten so far,” Debbie said.

She said her and her husband Bryce’s other son, Logan, 12, a seventh-grader at Santan Junior High School, is “super compassionate” and “sensitive.” As soon as he gets home from school for the day, Logan immediately asks how Kameron is doing, Debbie said.

“We’re so grateful that Logan has that kind of compassion,” she said.

The nightmare began for Kameron and his family when he was not feeling well last year, and he fell off a scooter, Debbie said. Within half an hour of falling, Kameron developed a deep purple bruise the size of an orange on his thigh, she said.

Debbie thought the bruise looked odd, so she called Kameron’s pediatrician, who recommended bringing him to the office that day.

After bloodwork and a consultation with the pediatrician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Kameron stayed at the hospital for a week of testing.

Doctors discovered he had a “softball-sized tumor behind his bladder,” Debbie said. Kameron was 8.

Kameron had to stay a few weeks in the hospital, as he also had developed Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a rare blood clotting issue. Once he was able to start chemotherapy, Kameron went through 54 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.

Doctors in April said Kameron was cleared of cancer.

“We were like, ‘Thank you, God,’ because we got our son cured from his cancer,” Debbie said. “We were excited to start putting our lives back together.”

Kameron, who loves playing soccer, seemed to be doing well until a month ago. He got a cold, and his immune system was “not 100 percent,” Debbie said.

“He started experiencing double vision,” she said. “It was very infrequent. It would go away. After the third day of partial double vision, I called his pediatrician; I called his oncologist.”

An MRI of Kameron’s brain revealed a “golf-ball-sized tumor on top of his head,” Debbie said.

“It’s been a nightmare,” she said. “Kameron, he’s a 10-year-old. He loves to be out. He’s my crazy Kameron. That’s why we had him in soccer for so many years. He loves animals and dogs. He’s not a kid to sit still. To be in a situation now where he’s on chemo, it’s been hard for him. It’s mentally hard.”

Though the family has health insurance, it will not cover all costs, and Debbie estimated she and her husband might face bills worth tens of thousands of dollars for all the treatments.

However, Kameron is strong, and faith in God keeps the family going, Debbie said. They attend Compass Christian Church in Chandler.

“The kid is a fighter,” Debbie said. “He has this resilience about him. He has learned through his treatment process to laugh.”

She said Kameron likes to play pranks on the nurses and doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and he loves a pet therapy program.

“It takes its toll on us,” Debbie said. “At the end of the day we’re a family. Kameron’s gonna get through this. We pray a ton every day, every night. We know God has a plan for Kameron. We’re comforted by the fact that we do have God on our side.”

Debbie’s close friend, Jennifer Lyle said when Kameron was diagnosed with cancer last year she coordinated prayer groups among their friends.

Lyle said she also organized meal trains to get food to the Shermans while they dealt with Kameron’s illness. She said the prayer groups will continue during this challenging time, and car magnets were also sold to raise money for the Shermans.

Lyle has a 15-year-old son, Mason, who attends Perry High School and a 12-year-old daughter, Kelsie, a student in Logan’s class at Santan Junior High.

“Debbie and her family are very loving,” Lyle said. “Debbie has spent countless hours volunteering at school in her kids’ classrooms. They are actively involved in our church. Debbie was also very involved in Kameron’s soccer team before he was diagnosed with cancer the first time.

“Bryce and Debbie are very loving parents. Their boys, Logan and Kameron are great kids who have many friends.  They are kind, compassionate and a joy to all.”

To help:

Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer