Former Florida High star Cam Brown fought cancer to the end
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Cam Brown clearly wasn’t thinking about being stopped by the rare form of cancer that had cost him his left leg.
He held fast to his dream of playing college football for Western Carolina. Plans were in the works too for him to marry his girlfriend Dallas Kennedy.
Right after his amputation, he was in the weight room still believing he would become a Catamount. No one smiled broader, as Brown could see things coming together for him.
But this past Saturday, the fight against Osteosarcoma became too much as Brown succumbed to the disease. He was 19 years old.
“We hoped that things would get better,” said Jarrod Hickman, whose Florida High team Brown led to the state playoffs last season. “This thing is hard. Just a short year ago, we were in the playoffs with Cam leading our team.”
Brown was diagnosed in May. A month later, after taking several trips to Shands Hospital in Gainesville for chemo treatments, he was faced with amputation.
Brown continued to make trips to the gym, but in recent months the cancer spread to his back and weakened his muscles.
A two-sport athlete, Brown was one of the best wrestlers in the state. He proved that when he finished second in the state championship at 195 pounds.
He did a lot of his preparation at Success Athletic Training. His trainer Mark Liles said he was a role model for others.
“He had a tremendous work ethic,” Liles said, still shaken by the news of Brown’s death. “He always would bring 100 percent every training session. He was a guy you never had to push. He pushed himself.”
Liles said he was stunned by the news because the last time he saw Brown he was filled with optimism about playing football again.
“He stayed the same even though he had that leg cut off,” Liles said. “If you talk to him, you couldn’t tell.
“He did the same thing and believed that somehow he was going to come back. He’d say, ‘coach, I’m still working hard. I’m going to be on the field.’ ”
Brown was a motivation for his teammates before the disease struck, but became even more so after, said Hickman.
“This whole world could learn a lot from this young man,” Hickman said. “He was incredible. I probably learned more from him than he learned from me.”