The story of strength and perseverance (a complementary blog to Story within a story)
“Will you be my best man?”
I don’t know why, but I was nervous when asking. It wasn’t because I was nervous about the answer; I knew he would say yes.
Like most brothers, there is very little between us that we treat as ‘formal’.
But we did have one big formality. When we put our belts on for Karate, it was ‘Sensei’ and ‘Sempai’. Now, we had another formal action to take – groom and best man.
When I graduated to my Black Belt, Sensei Cameron was there. He handed me my Gi top, shook my hand and said Congratulations Sempai!’. I remember it like it was yesterday. The feeling I got when he looked at me that day came flooding back years later when he again congratulated me and Michelle on our wedding day.
All I wanted was for Cameron to just be there by my side. Look to the left, and for him to be there, like always. I wanted him to not worry and enjoy the wedding, but I should have known that he was going to do everything to be the most super Best Man he could be. He was not satisfied with ‘just being there’.
‘Buckstivus!’ he announced. This is what he termed the festivities as he began to throw ideas out of what we could do in the lead up to the wedding. I felt concerned that I was giving him more things to worry about and was secretly hoping we could just sit on his couch and watch our favourite show together, but he was not going to let it go by without an adventure.
I knew that concentration and arranging of events was something that Timmy and his new discovery, Webster, were making almost impossible and straight up painful for Cameron. But Buckstivus was perfect. Cameron arranged for the boys to get together and everyone had an awesome time.
Now, it was time for the wedding. Cameron was three brain surgeries, countless days of chemotherapies and radiotherapies, and multiple relearnings of how to walk into his cancer journey. He was stubbornly using a crutch when he ‘should have’ been using a wheelchair. The treatments he had gone through had sapped every last piece of energy from his body but Cameron was not going to let that stop him.
He was living on a very tight budget. Not a monetary budget, a life budget.
The wedding was scheduled for January, a week after Cameron’s 40th birthday. Michelle and I didn’t want Cameron to miss out on celebrating his birthday, so we planned to have a party for Cameron prior to the wedding. It was going to be an awesome party that he would have loved. However, Cameron made a choice. He knew that he had the energy in him to do one thing, and he chose to spend that energy on his brother, not himself. On his 40th birthday, instead of accepting gifts, he gave one. He stayed in his hotel room. He saved the only energy he had left for me. The birthday party still went ahead, without him. The guests had fun, and afterwards I walked to his room where he was lying down, and brought him his birthday cake in the shape of some underpants (a running joke he and I had). He smiled and said thank you.
The wedding day arrived and Cameron was ready. Michelle and I had planned the weekend to help Cameron as much as we could, but this felt kind of like watching someone carry a 10 tonne truck and offering to hold the keys.
Cameron – now not only a superhero, but also a best man – sprung into action. Leading the groomsmen throughout the day, delivering the bride’s gift with the boys, riding along the beach in a Tuk Tuk to the head of the aisle. Standing to my left as Michelle walked down the aisle. Standing and delivering his speech. Coming to the dancefloor and staying all night. Superhero strength, superhero perseverance.
His gift to me – every last bit of energy he had – was another example of how super he was.
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.