It was very important to Cameron that whatever he wrote had an impact. Cameron wrote prolifically. He wrote to us, and for us, and for himself. “Cancer and other C words” is a series of writings about transforming the fear and dread often associated with cancer. Cameron tried to define his cancer and the way he experienced it in a way that made sense for the life he wanted to live, and so that others would understand the way he lived with his illness.
For us, as custodians of his work and legacy, the message of this piece is the story itself. It gives us insight into the experience of “Coming Out with Cancer”, having to break the news to people over and over again. It is also about how Cameron chose to define himself amongst those Cs.
Soon after he was diagnosed, he understood that his cancer did not exist in a vacuum; that almost everything he said or wrote was heard by others through the filter of his diagnosis and shortened life expectancy, as though his prognosis made what he said mean more or say more than if anyone else was to say the same thing. He yearned for his messages about living well and striving to be the best version of ourselves to be heard because they were important in their own right, not because they were lessons from a dying man.
As time continues to pass without him, and we reflect on his words, his message is clear:
Cameron’s legacy was his life! Not his death.
Here is the start of the previously unpublished series that Cameron began writing in April 2015, 3 years into his cancer journey.
Cancer and other C words: Part 1 - Cameron
“Hi, this is Cameron.”
I am introduced to yet another new person. I love meeting new people, however I have a secret that at some point in time they are going to find out about. Do I tell them straight away? Do they already know? It’s not that much of a secret, afterall? If I do tell them how do I tell them? When do I tell them? How will they respond? Will they become scared? Will they feel sorry for me? This is how meeting most new people goes.
There are many sides to me.
I am Cameron who likes to be a kid and have a lot of fun.
I am Cameron who has a passion for working with children with additional needs and helping them achieve things that they have been told they will not do.
I am Cameron who started and runs successful Martial Arts and Superhero Schools.
I am Cameron, a high level athlete.
I am Cameron who loves life.
All of this seems to go by the wayside though, when people hear this one thing about me:
“I am Cameron. I have terminal brain cancer”.
Immediately the tone of the conversation changes. Pity and fear settle in like a fog from industrial age London. Somewhere lurking in its thick depths lies Jack The Ripper. The conversation becomes awkward. Afterall, what do you say when you find this out? People’s brains are wired to focus on any threat, and they become scared in the proximity of impending death, even when it is not their own.
As they emerge from the fog, they take another look at me. They plead, “But you look so healthy!”
“I am,” I calmly explain. “I just have cancer.”
Being diagnosed came with a whole set of expectations. I was expected to play the role of being sick. Someone who has cancer is supposed to rest. They are expected to stop their life. They are supposed to be scared of dying and live in fear. They are expected to focus on the pain and be bed ridden. They are supposed to be focusing on the cancer and their imminent death.
Does that sound like the sort of life you want to live? It certainly wasn’t the type of life I wanted to live.
So… Hi, I am Cameron.
I am not my cancer. There is more to me than that. I am way too busy living to be
This is where the post ends.
We love this unfinished post even more for the ending. Here Cameron illustrates better than any of us can, clearly how “too busy living” he was… to even finish the sentence, let alone the piece.
One paragraph break down the page, he started a new piece.
We know what he wanted to say, as we talked about all these writings with him. However, as we have done previously, rather than finish it for him, we chose to leave it as he did, and remember how he was off being too busy living to find time for a full stop. All the unfinished symphonies.
We hope that in time, we will be able to share them all. For now, we hope you have enjoyed reading part one of this series.
Happy Birthday, Cameron. We love you and miss you.
Nathan & Teresa
20 January 2024
Want to learn more about Cameron Gill’s journey, his legacy, and his legacy projects? CLICK HERE for Cam’s official Facebook legacy page. We have heaps more of his story to share, so like and follow to stay updated.