THERE was a time, he recalls, when Tamworth dad Mick Langan told his sleeping two-year-old son that if he didn’t have it in him to fight anymore, it was OK.
His two late grandfathers “up there” would take care of him.
Little Cameron was in intensive care in Westmead Children’s Hospital with stage IV neuroblastoma, his body riddled with tumours and fighting off a serious infection after chemotherapy.
“I didn’t think he was going to make it through the night,” Mr Langan said.
“I said to him, ‘Mate, if it’s too much, both your grandfathers are up there; they’ll look after you. Shuffle off, mate, if it’s too hard’.”
Mum Anita Langan said Cameron and his medical team “spent weeks fighting that infection”.
“It was like, forget about the cancer ... it was full-on, concentrate on getting through this infection,” Ms Langan said.
But this is a story with a happy ending, and one they are sharing with the hope of giving hope.
Despite Cameron’s prognosis never being given as better than 50-50, that moment in the ICU was almost 10 years ago.
Today, he is a “typical 11-year-old” with two older sisters, Erica and Michaela, and a younger sister, Vanessa.
His days are filled with school, sport, family and video games, and he now wonders what all the fuss was about.
The Leader revisited the family during the intervening years: around his third birthday and when he started school in 2012.
This time, after another recent milestone they couldn’t possibly have imagined back then, his parents simply wanted to encourage others facing the same battle to keep the faith.
“If we can just reach out and say: ‘It’s bad, but all you’ve got to do is keep putting your foot on the floor in the morning, a gutful of hope, confidence in the medical team and the whole village of people that come to help you – if they can find some comfort and battle on for one more day because we did, and it turns out alright in the finish – so be it,” Mr Langan said.
He was quick to add that “thousands of people” had helped them all come through it.
“That’s the other thing that I got out of all this: when you end up in a really bad spot, there are any number of people that are just ready to give you hand.”
Ms Langan said they had been “overwhelmed by it, especially in the beginning”.
“The amount of gifts that would come in the mail each day, we would actually cry sometimes … or just a card with the supportive words that you needed to hear would touch you so deeply.”
Mr Langan said he often had moments when it hit him how far they’d come – and the most recent of them was their latest effort to “give back”.
He, Cameron and Michaela recently completed a 25km bike ride to raise money for MS Queensland.
“Kids are a pretty tough breed … a seemingly heartbreaking story can have a good ending – it just might take a few years,” he said.
“As I cycled behind him, I thought back to the days when I didn’t think he would make it. And I smiled – the proud father smile.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.