It felt like things changed overnight. Cameron went from being a well adjusted, socially accepted, physically active, grade 8 student to being unable to attend school on a regular basis in grades 9 & 10. As the stomach aches, nausea and morning expressions of "I feel sick" increased, we worried our son might be seriously ill.
"We had no idea what we were dealing with."
When medical tests ruled out any physiological causes we tried switching him to another high school, thinking a change of environment might prove helpful. Cameron's symptoms seemed to lessen for a brief period, but soon they were back to where they had been. Eventually, he switched back to his home school.
With the assistance of staff, in particular guidance and the school vice principal, Cameron was able to carry on his studies at home, taking on-line courses and writing tests in the guidance office. As Cam felt stronger, he was slowly able to integrate back into classroom learning. Grade 11 saw him fully re-integrated into school.
Throughout this time, Cameron had the support of various health care practitioners and doctors. Learning to successfully manage his anxiety meant incorporating nutrition, herbs, supplements, homeopathy, energy work and CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) as required. Not always easy for a teenager trying to appear "normal".
The individualized attention Cameron received from his high school meant the world of difference in being able to re-integrate into school life, as did the support of his fabulous friends. Cameron continued to fully enjoy his remaining high school years, participating in sports and extra-curricular activities, even emceeing his school's charity talent show in front of a full house.
In September 2014, Cam moved to the University of Ottawa to begin his post secondary studies. Two months later, to the day, he was fatally struck by a motor vehicle.
We, Cam's family, have founded Cam's Kids Foundation in honour of our beautiful son and brother. Our desire is to share some of the experience we have acquired, create awareness and empower others in managing and/or overcoming their anxiety.
Cam's legacy of love and kindness will live on through this Foundation. In the spirit of his character and all he has taught us, we are committed to “Supporting Youth Struggling with Anxiety” ❤
- Linda, Gord, Andrew and Mitchell Hicks
Cam’s Kids is committed to “Supporting Youth Struggling with Anxiety” by:
Creating awareness of common anxiety symptoms in youth, assisting in early identification.
Providing tools, lifestyle tips and resources, empowering youth to learn how to manage and overcome anxiety.
Sharing young people's stories; supporting and encouraging their peers to overcome anxiety and reach their full potential.
Cam’s Kids pursues this vision through three primary programs:
Cam's Kids’ website is the core component of the foundation. Through the website and a variety of social media channels Cam's Kids provides the relevant information required to promote anxiety awareness, provide the tools, and tell the stories which enable us to achieve our mandate.
Cam's Kids believes in the transformative and empowering nature of peer and community support. When young people learn about anxiety and hear stories from other youth, there is often comfort found in knowing that others care.
Our ambassadors are youth volunteers and represent Cam's Kids in their respective communities across Canada. They promote awareness in schools and community centres, and assist in promoting Cam's Kids through other activities such as poster campaigns and volunteering at fundraising events in support of Cam's Kids.
Cam's Kids supports and participates in fundraising events where proceeds are being raised for the foundation. These events help create awareness and promote community engagement, which encourages healthy discussions about anxiety, highlights the resources that exist on our website.
"Supporting Youth Struggling with Anxiety"
This past Halloween marked the second anniversary of our son Cam's death. That day, I posted this picture of Cam and me on Instagram; we were celebrating his 18th birthday at the cottage and we are sharing a loving hug. The responses to the picture were so kind and so numerous that I could not answer every person, every sweet inquiry, every reminiscence. So this short article is an attempt to do that.