A young man beloved by many in the local community lost his 10-month battle with cancer.
Cameron Fahey, of Beverly, died Aug. 21. He was 17.
A senior at Br. Rice High School, Cameron was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic lymphoma in October 2013. In May, Cameron and his family learned the cancer had modified into Burkitt’s lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that he would need a bone-marrow transplant.
But the cancer returned in July, just a few weeks before the scheduled date of the bone-marrow transplant surgery, Cameron’s father Brian Fahey said. This time around, the intensive chemotherapy Cameron received was unsuccessful.
With a desire to learn as strong as his intellect, Cameron excelled academically at both St. Barnabas Elementary School and Br. Rice, his father said.
“He did so much reading on his own; we’d talk about things, and I’d say, ‘How do you know that?’” Brian said. “For instance, he was very interested in geography; he had a world atlas and went through the whole thing on his own, studying it page by page.”
Cameron’s encyclopedic knowledge of professional wrestling was also a source of amazement, his father said.
“He had a memory like a lead box; he could tell you anything and everything about it,” Brian said. “He loved it and couldn’t get enough of it.”
Br. Rice Principal Jim Antos said Cameron was “a remarkable young man with a great sense of humor” who persevered even under the most difficult of circumstances. Cameron’s determination was demonstrated by the high marks he earned while battling cancer and managing the sickness and fatigue that accompanied his chemotherapy regimen. Br. Rice officials said Cameron scored a 34 on the ACT and a 5 on an AP exam.
“That was just one aspect of his brilliance, his excellence, his commitment,” Antos said. “He was an outstanding young person.”
In her remarks at the funeral Mass held at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church on Aug. 27, Cameron’s mother Hallie Fahey said her son was looking forward to continuing his education at Brown University or the Rhode Island School of Design, the two schools he fell in love with during a college tour the previous summer.
“Cameron saw the world through a different prism,” Hallie said. “College would be the place where he could intellectually transform into the person he wanted to be.”
With a love of the Chicago Cubs, George Carlin and alien conspiracy theories, Cameron also had a strong social conscience and enjoyed sharing his opinions on war, discrimination and other topical issues, his parents said.
“He was coming into his own with the articulation of his world view,” Brian said. “He didn’t always like what he saw, and I think he would have done something about it.”
A lifelong Beverly resident, Cameron was a loyal friend who cherished his many friendships.
“The relative goodness of Cameron’s days were measured by the amount of time he spent with his friends,” Hallie said. “He was joyful; [his friends] made him joyful.”
And, Brian said, Cameron was blessed with friends who were loyal in return.
“His friends from St. Barnabas and Br. Rice visited him and were with him to the end,” Brian said. “They were spectacular in their devotion to him.”
Cameron leaves the world a brighter place, his mother said, and his legacy will live on in the lessons he imparted to those who knew him.
“Where you see discrimination, speak out; where you see bullying, step in; where you hear bad music, turn it off; where you see something funny, laugh—laugh hard, laugh loud—that’s what he would have wanted,” Hallie said. “And, please, love each other.”
Cameron is survived by his parents, Brian and Hallie; his grandparents, Charles and Joan Miller and Kathleen Fahey; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation was held at St. Barnabas on Aug. 26, followed by a funeral Mass at St. Barnabas and interment at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery on Aug. 27.
A memorial Mass will be held at Br. Rice in the near future.
Memorials may be made to the Cameron Miller Fahey Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o P.O. Box 437742, Chicago, IL 60643.