Dear MLS; your players are more than athletes, they are humanitarians
There are many great things about your organization, but this story I’m about to tell you is one of the reasons the MLS is special. Let me take you back to last year and tell you about Cameron McCarthy. She is a young girl from Aston, Pa who was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. Being a father of two young boys, I can’t understand what her parents were going through, but her story hit myself, as well as the community hard.
Cameron had just made the girls travel soccer team in Aston, and as a board member, her story was brought up at one of our meetings. We immediately voted to make a donation to the “Team Cameron” fund, as well as making sure her uniform would be given to her on behalf of AYSA. But knowing some of The Philadelphia Union office personnel, I wanted to do more. So I called my friends Alex Carrington and Colleen Geary from the Union, and told them the story. I then asked both of them if there was any way I could possibly get and autographed ball or jersey to auction off on AYSA’s website with all proceeds going to Cameron. They both said they would look around to see what they could do.
Within the hour, I was told that John McCarthy of the Union, wanted to talk to me about Cameron. Through emails/phone calls, John informed me that the story touched him. Not only because it was young kid, but they shared the last name. (No relation). After explaining the story, he informed me that he wanted to meet her. At first I thought this would be a one and done thing like most professional athletes do, but John is different. He is a great guy.
John drove down to DuPont hospital in Delaware, and brought Cameron some autograph items, but that’s not all. He let her shave his head, which the video can be found on The Unions site. The smile and laughter coming from Cameron will melt your heart, so have the tissue’s ready. This was just the beginning of the bond between Cameron and John. What they have built over the last year is phenomenal.
John and I have become friends, and every time we talk, he always ask for an update about her. He has appeared at numerous fundraisers for Cameron over the last year, even calling out bingo numbers at a Coach Bag Bingo. But it’s not for his publicity, it is because he has the biggest heart, and a huge place in it for Cameron.
The Philadelphia Union and The Sons of Ben, the support group, have also been very generous in reaching out to Cameron, and showing her how much they support her. But it starts with John. It starts with an MLS player that reached out to Cameron with all the support anyone could ask for.
As of today, Cameron is on her last 5 day chemotherapy that requires a longer stay in the hospital, she still has one more round of chemo but that is a one night hospital stay followed by an outpatient chemo infusion with a great outlook. I am in awe of the strength of Cameron’s family, because what they have been through had to be one of the toughest things to imagine, but they are strong. But I do believe that the positive outcome that is on the horizon has a lot to do with one of the greatest humanitarians I know, John McCarthy. I have seen Cam a lot over the past couple months, and her face still lights up when I mention his name. The prognosis is great, and John, you should be acknowledged for what you have done to touch a community, and the heart of this little girl.