TRAVERSE CITY — At age 6, Cam Deering was diagnosed for the third time with a rare cell disease.
Friends and church members have long offered to raise money for expenses, but it seemed “weird” to accept help, said Cam’s dad, Mike Deering.
This time around, Cam’s parents agreed.
“They’ve been wanting to help us for a long time,” he said.
A group called “CamUnity” is selling raffle tickets and will hold a “Fun on the Farm” event behind Moomers Ice Cream on North Long Lake Road on Sept. 15.
Cam, now 7, is undergoing chemotherapy and often can’t swim because of a port for the medicine. He wishes he could be “normal” like other kids, said his mother, Sommer Deering.
“This whole benefit thing is pretty uplifting,” she said. “We remind him that everyone is behind his back. And we pray for him. I think the support really does help — the little things people send him in the mail.”
Cam was diagnosed with Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH) when he was 10 months old. Essentially abnormal cells proliferate in areas they don’t belong. In Cam’s case, the cells have attacked his skin, bones, brain, sternum and lungs.
“Some doctors consider it a cancer, others don’t. There’s not much to differentiate the two,” said Nedra Shoobridge, his grandmother. “It’s a disease they still don’t understand. He’s now got some in his brain and behind his eye. It’s been in all different places, but when it gets in his brain it’s the worst. It’s not a good thing.”
The family thought Cam was “home free” after the disease went into remission for the second time. The third relapse has been hard to take, Mike said.
Cam, a Westwoods Elementary second grader, said in an interview, he was “sad” when heard the disease came back.