The Houston Dynamo’s Geoff Cameron has had a lot of work on his plate since being called up to the US national team and preparing for World Cup qualifying this summer. However, this hasn’t kept Cameron and Dynamo Charities from raising $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Cameron’s fundraising for the LLS – the world’s largest volunteer organization with 67 chapters in the US and Canada, which funds research for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma – has earned him MLS W.O.R.K.S.Humanitarian of the Month award for June.
With an initial goal of $20,000 in honor of his No. 20 jersey, Cameron was personally inspired to help the LLS after his friend Tim DaPonte was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2011.
“He was a kid I grew up playing soccer with," Cameron told MLSsoccer.com. "He was a really good friend off the field. To see him at 26 years old get diagnosed with this terrible disease was really tough, but he fought it. Then it came back and now he’s fighting it again.”
So far, Cameron has organized FIFA video game tournaments, T-shirt sales, and silent auctions. He will continue to add to his goal with other events such as hosting a guest for a private dinner, karaoke night and money collections at games.
“I did the 20-for-20 thing to make sure I did something, and to help show him that there are people going through the same thing and that people do care,” said Cameron.
Even while in Florida preparing for the US' World Cup qualifying game this week, Cameron still finds time to check up on DaPonte.
“Every morning when I wake up, I call him or send him a text," Cameron said. "I just say, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ He’s doing chemo now, so Thursdays are rough days — because those are the days he gets treatments.”
Cameron and DaPonte try to look at Hodgkin’s lymphoma with a perspective they both intrisically understand: They relate it to a soccer game.
“You know, it’s the 75th minute and you’ve got to keep pushing,” added Cameron. “We joke around, but it’s kind of true, because the cancer is like your opponent and you don’t want the cancer to beat you.”