A couple of months after a Chandler boy lost his battle to a rare type of cancer, his family has started a foundation to support other children suffering from life-threatening diseases.
Kameron Sherman spent two years undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments in an attempt to fight rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that forms in soft muscle tissue.
There was hope Sherman might defeat the disease, as cancer receded in early 2018. But then doctors noticed it reappeared again a short time later.
The 11-year-old eventually succumbed to the illness on July 15.
The Shermans now want to support the same programs that helped the family persevere through two years of hospital visits and intrusive treatments.
“We want to do something so that Kameron’s memory continues,” said Jennifer Lyle, a close friend of Sherman’s family.
They launched Kameron’s Krusaders this month to raise funds that will support the dog-therapy program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Specially-trained dogs are brought to the hospital to get kids to forget about their illness and motivate them to move around or interact with others.
Dogs were a great comfort for Kameron during his cancer treatment, Lyle said.
She recalled visiting the Shermans in the hospital once and observed Kameron’s reaction when volunteers brought in a therapy dog.
“You could just see that the word ‘cancer’ was not in his brain at that point,” Lyle said.
The family will be collecting tax-deductible donations under the umbrella of Arizona Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
Throughout Sherman’s treatment, the Chandler community rallied together to support the family.
Thousands of dollars were raised to pay off medical bills, neighbors greeted the Shermans after returning from the hospital, and teachers volunteered to home-school Kameron.
The Chandler Fire Department even made Kameron an honorary firefighter, suiting him up in a helmet and jacket and letting him tour the fire station.
Lyle said more than 500 people turned up for Kameron’s memorial service.
“The family is so grateful for everything the community has done,” Lyle added, “and it’s really helped them not feel alone and understand how loved they are.”
The family is still reviewing what other types of services they want their foundation to support. Their main objective, Lyle said, will be to supplement programs that make hospitals a little less scary for kids.
“We’re excited that we can turn something that was bad into something really good,” she added.
More information about Kameron’s Krusaders can be found at azfoundation.org/Donors.