By: Cameron Robertson
When I was 13 months old, I was diagnosed with a “one in a million” liver cancer called hepatoblastoma. By the time I was 2 years old I had endured 15 rounds of chemotherapy and three surgeries, including an 80% liver resection.
Throughout my childhood, the side effects of cancer and its treatment put up roadblocks for me. I still continue to follow up every year with heart studies and bloodwork. I had to wear hearing aids because of chemotherapy treatment. I was limited to non-contact sports but always dreamed of playing football. My doctor always said no, but finally cleared me to play as kicker and punter. Doctors also always told me that I would never be able to be a father, because of the effects of cancer treatment.
But, today, I am a father to two boys—a 2-year-old (Jan Carlos) and a 9-month-old (Cayden).
Becoming a father is momentous for any man. For me, it’s made me understand more of what my own father went through when I was sick. I truly cannot imagine living through a cancer diagnosis and treatment like my parents did. I cherish and adore every moment I get to spend with my boys and my wife. I am focused on building memories and a foundation for my sons to grow up and be successful. My diagnosis taught me to never take anything for granted.
And while childhood cancer has had a huge impact on my fatherhood, there are still the regular, normal things I’ve learned since I had my boys. There are the days when you get home exhausted from work and just want to sleep. Then, you see the smile and excitement on your kids’ faces when they see you and suddenly you have the energy you need to play all night.
When I was a kid, my own dad always showed up for us. He came to all my football games and spent hours and hours in the bleachers at swim meets. He worked all day and came home to me and my sisters, only to work more, for us and with us. He pushed me to be the best that I can be and has always walked the walk with me my entire journey — from cancer diagnosis, treatment, childhood, and now, fatherhood.
Being a father has been the biggest blessing in this world. I can’t wait until the day I get to watch my kids fulfill their lifelong goals and dreams. Like my dad, I will be there to support them in whatever endeavors they want to chase and I will be right there to chase those endeavors with them.
Cameron Robertson was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma when he was just 13 months old. Hepatoblastoma is extremely rare — with incident rates of one in a million. Since he was a child, Cameron has been a hero ambassador for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, sharing his story, hosting lemonade stands with his family and being a friend and mentor to other childhood cancer heroes. Cameron lives in Kissimmee, Florida with his wife, Cass, and works as a District Manager for Hertz Corporation. His sons — Jan Carlos and Cayden — are 2 years old and 9 months old.