“I’ve learned to treat everyone with respect because you never know what they might have gone through or what they might be going through,” said Cameron Mathes.
The above statement sounds like the sound philosophy of a very wise older person who has truly paid attention to life’s lessons. Would you be surprised to find out that the sentiments expressed were those of a high school senior? But this is no ordinary young man. At a very young age, Cameron Mathes, had to face a challenge that would seem unfathomable.
“I was two years old the doctors told my parents I had leukemia,” he related.
The devastating diagnosis would be a part of the Mathes’ family’s life for the next two harrowing years. Despite his tender age, Mathes was still aware of what was going on.
“I have some memories of what happened around that time. I had an operation so that they could be a port in for the chemotherapy,” said Mathes.
While he should have been spending more time bouncing around jungle gyms and playing with toys Mathes was faced with rounds of chemo and hospital visits. Fortunately, after two years he beat the disease and has been in remission ever since. When Mathes speaks about that time in his life he does it in a mature and philosophical manner.
“I’ve learned to really appreciate life. I want to give back too. I want to help those who helped me,” said Mathes.
What he is talking about those who are valiantly fighting the battle against cancer. That is why Mathes devotes his time to such worthy causes as Alex’s Lemonade Stand and various other events which raise funds for cancer research and treatment.
“I go to events and tell my story,” he said. “Meeting the people fighting cancer and their families makes a big impact on me.”
Whether it is a volleyball game or a golf tournament or any other function Mathes endeavors to do whatever he can whenever he can to help the cause. He began doing this volunteering when he was in middle school.
“We’ve done events at Paxon Hollow and Haverford. The reason I got involved is because of what I went through. I wanted to help others who were going through what I went through,” said Mathes.“My Mom (Jennifer) and Dad (Chip) helped me so much. I wouldn’t be here without them."
It is amazing to see how Mathes has grown into a solid multi-sport athlete (baseball, basketball and football) after overcoming such a significant challenge so early in his life. However, he does not dwell upon his accomplishments (which are quite noteworthy. More on that later). Mathes speaks effusively and glowingly about his teammates.
“We have a great blend,” he said while speaking about the team on which he is currently playing, baseball. “The seniors are leading while the juniors are producing and the sophomores are coming up with big contributions as well as our freshman starter."
One freshman has a special place in Mathes’ heart and not only because they are fellow Tigers.
“It’s awesome to play baseball with my brother Alden. I love every second of it!” he said.
The feeling is mutual. “Cameron has been a huge influence on me. His example shows me how it pays off when you work hard,” said Alden Mathes, who plays centerfield and bats lead off for Marple Newtown.
With players like the Mathes’ brothers as well as a roster replete with dedicated and talented players like Ricky Collings and Scott Hahn, to name just a few, the Tigers battled their way to a share of the Central League title this season. Take a guess who was on the mound and pitched the team to the win that clinched the co-championship? Cameron Mathes. Not surprisingly, brother Alden was one of the key hitters who came through with some clutch hitting in the crucial triumph. The beauty of this fraternal bond is not lost upon veteran coach, Steve Smith.
“The brother combination works so well. They work together no naturally. It’s a great thing to see,” he said. However, while Smith admires the athletic attributes he also knows there is so much more to life than what happens on the field of play. “So many folks are not aware of what is going on around them. It’s as if they live in a ‘tunnel’. That’s not true with Cameron. He notices things. He knows when to say the right word at the right time to a fellow teammate. Not just on the field either. It could be while we’re on the bus heading to a game,” said Smith.
Besides being talented on the field and as a leader Mathes excels in the classroom as well. The studious senior is taking several honors courses at Marple Newtown High School.
“I enjoy math and science. I think what appeals to me is figuring out problems,” he said. Brother Alden follows suit as he is taking an honors course in pre-calculus. You will also most likely be hearing about yet another Mathes brother in the future. Owen Mathes is in sixth grade and is very involved in sports.
“Our parents go to our games and are always there to support us in what we do. We’ve played Little League, Babe Ruth, Legion ball and now high school,” said Cameron Mathes. “We know that they’ve helped us our whole lives and not just with baseball but with the important life lessons."
There is no doubt that Cameron Mathes has a deep appreciation of the firm foundation that Chip and Jennifer Mathes have provided in their loving, nurturing home to him and his brothers. Every day and in so many ways he seeks to give back to others for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon him.