Honoring the memory of Cam

Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson

All About Ben

BY Ben Robinson

It’s October, and I really don’t have anything appropriate to wear.

Pink is the official color of October, as this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, pretty much by design, I don’t own anything pink. My brother Thom had a shirt that certainly looked pink to me, nut he said it was actually “chartreuse.” He’s a dyer, so I have to trust him on colors, especially ones I cannot spell.

I toyed with the idea of buying a pink tie, but remembered that if there is any way out of it, I will not wear a tie. That might be a reason why I’m in my late 40s and not married. Works for me.

Pink t-shirts really are not practical either. Most have some sort of feminine slogan printed on the front, and I don’t want strangers I meet to wonder about the fat, ugly woman they ran into.

But I need to wear something pink to encourage people in the fight against breast cancer. I owe it to an old friend.

Cam Watson (later Underhill) was a beautiful young woman. We knew each other in high school, but she hung out with other beautiful young women, which separated her from my crowds, which mostly consisted of me. Years later she was working for Baptist Medical Center Easley, and I came across her while working on a medical-related story. It was like we had been best friends through the years.

Cam had had a run-in with cancer and was told by her doctor that if she went a year in remission, it was likely she would never have to worry about cancer again.

So you know how the story goes. About six months later the cancer showed up again. It was more serious then. In fact, terminal.

Through the next several months, I tried to be there to cheer her up as she faced the situation. But more often than not she provided me with a lift in spirits. She always asked about my girlfriend, with whom I had a very challenging relationship. She encouraged me, because she knew I actually loved the girl. But she cautioned me about the potential hurt to come from the relationship.

After Cam’s death, I broke up with this girl, as we had very different goals in life. But I still care deeply about the girl and wish things would somehow go well for her. I think Cam understood that better than anyone, as her own marriage had not been perfect, but allowed her heart to forgive.

Cam’s life revolved around her two daughters. She loved going to Pickens volleyball games to cheer for the older one. The team joined in her fight against cancer, which thrilled her. I wonder how those two special little girls are doing today?

Our running “joke” involved peanut M&Ms. Cam loved them, so as often as I could I would drop by packages of the candy to her office. She smiled and shared the candy with her family and co-workers. When the family received friends for her funeral, vases with packs of M&Ms were put out for guests. I was touched.

But unfortunately Cam departed this life much too early. I was honored to be a pallbearer for her funeral.

Not a day goes by when I and dozens of others in the Upstate do not miss Cam, her warm smile, and her always encouraging words.

Try as we may, we cannot bring her back, but if I can encourage someone who is going through the experience of facing breast cancer, I can honor her memory.

So, even with no pink tie, I want to encourage everyone to have simple breast examinations. You may thing it’s too big of a bother, but think of your family, because when it came down to it, I think Cam did not mind dying so much as she did not being around to look after her family.

I would give anything if somehow I could turn back time and allow Cam more days here on earth. But all I can do is try to earn one of her special smiles from a place beyond.