In my last post I mentioned that I’d tell you a little about my good friend Cameron Williams. He was truly an amazing individual. We lived in the same apartment complex for a few years in college. We actually had plans to live together when he found out he had stomach cancer. He passed away on February 16, 2008.
We had some amazing times together. One of the first was when we were coaches for the women’s flag football team in our apartment complex. This was an intramural team at Brigham Young University. If anyone has attended, they can know how serious people take flag football. Cameron was the master in coordinating practices and drawing up plays, while I was the skills coach for most of the positions. The team didn’t win a game during the regular season. We had practiced every week. Many of the girls did not know much about football, but they were willing and eager to learn. This made it a lot of fun. The post season was different though. All teams went to the play offs for a tournament. We won every game leading up to the championship. Late into the winter, with at least 6″ snow-pack these girls played their final game. The game went into overtime with a 0-0 tie, when our girls were defeated. We were so happy with their success though.
Cameron was an exemplar of charity and compassion. Today, in honor of Cameron and his desire to give to others, the CAM Foundation provides socially responsible services for those in need.
Cameron had a great impact in my triathlon racing. He was always encouraging me and congratulating me in my success. A specific experience helped me learn how to dig deeper in moments of doubt during races. Cameron’s example encouraged me to overcome challenges and now his legacy still lives and encourages others to overcome challenges!
The Battle is Far From Over
In 2007, when I was blessed to receive sponsorship from Fishbowl, I trained very intensely to compete at the Triathlon National Championship. My goal was to qualify for the World Championship. I traveled to Portland Oregon to do so and was successful in reaching my time goals. However, I did not place high enough to qualify for the World Championship.
After the event I found out that a unique opportunity was placed in my path. Because of abnormal timing of the next year’s World Championship event, they would be qualifying individuals at a few different races across the country. One of these would be in Utah in two months! I continued to train hard for this event. As the event neared I found out that no one outside of Utah would be competing in my category and I had not lost a local race that year. My chances of qualifying were great!
In the mean time my dear friend, Cameron, was afflicted with cancer. I wanted dearly to do something to support him. I discussed with a few race organizers the possibilities of collaborating to raise funds for Cameron. I didn’t receive a great response. I decided to create my own event, but it would take months to organize. I decided at least to race in support of him. I got a new jersey with the sole purpose of printing his name on it. It says, “Cameron, the battle is far from over”.
I had no idea that that phase would come into play in the very race I wore the jersey. This was the same race that would qualify me for the World Championships.
The race did not go very well. I had a bike mechanic put racing wheels on my bike the night before and because of this my shifting was off. As I biked during the race my chain would slide out of its gear continuously.
I was not without hope though. I left out onto the run next to the lead racer in my category. I just had to run faster than he did. In the second mile we started to head up a hill. All of a sudden my quads started to seize. They would seize with every step. This had been caused by the inconsistency in my pedaling during the bike portion (because of the mechanical issue).
It only took a few more minutes to realize that my dream would not become a reality on that day. I felt so much pain in every step. This pain was quickly swallowed up in the tough of Cameron. How could I complain about my pain?! He was going through so much more pain! How could I complain that I wouldn’t qualify for the World Championships?! He was having to battle cancer!
From that moment forward, I truly raced for Cameron. I was not racing to win or for myself. I was pushing through the pain and finishing for Cameron.
I am extremely grateful for all that Cameron did for me and for so many others. He gave so much to others through his personality and service. I hope to be able to live like he did! I know that he passed his test here on Earth. I’m working hard to pass mine.