Andrew's skydive AND headshave

By Andrew Cameron

Will you help me Be Brave for patients with cancer?

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone to Be Brave for Lifehouse.

For the chance to see the fear on my face as I jump (or get pushed) out of a plane with a shaved head, donate to the link below and you can make it happen! A year ago today, 29th October 2019, I was diagnosed with cancer and this is my chance to give back. If you’re interested the full story follows. If not, you can simply follow this link and make it happen.

A year ago, today, I had a life changing event. I was in a wine tasting class, sparkling I think, as part of my WSET Diploma in Wine, when my doctor rang me to urgently come in. I was diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer of the tongue. The initial prognosis was not good, as well as the base of the tongue, the cancer had metastasised to my lymph system. Not the news anyone ever wants to hear but it did get better from there – I was lucky – it was treatable, and the Drs gave me an 80% chance of survival.  

After a couple of harrowing months of aggressive cancer treatment (radiation and chemotherapy), the recovery stage began and continues. The old adage that the cure is worse than the disease was very true in my part as I was asymptomatic and unaware of the cancer. The treatment really knocked me around and I lost 30 kg in the process and a few months of my life, only to emerge immune compromised into this new Covid world!.

Life as I knew it has changed, but I am one of the lucky ones – I am here today 12 months on from diagnosis. Suffice to say wine tasting will never be the same and I miss that juicy rare steak.

I received massive support from friends and family, a debt which I can never repay.

I also received world-class compassionate treatment care and attention at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney. The staff were great, and all deserve a mention, but not here, there are just too many. I will put a shout out to Professor Chris Milross and Professor Michael Boyer who headed up the teams looking after me and without whom I would not be here today. I really appreciate the dedication of people like Chris and Michael who have spent a lifetime learning how to make very sick people’s lives better.

It’s now my turn to give back, or at least ask you to give something on my behalf.  The Life House is running a fundraising campaign “Be Brave for Lifehouse” which is either a parachute jump or head shave. I’ve never been one to do things by halves and why jump out of a plane with a head of hair when you could do it without? So, I’m doing both. As I didn’t lose (much) hair through the chemotherapy it seems fitting that I should lose it now, as far as jumping out of a plane I’ve done that once before and haven’t bothered doing it since so that must say something!

My target is $2000, we need to reach at least $850 to see the fear on my face, I promise to post. There may even by video.

 

Don’t donate for me, I’ve had my treatment and come through the other side, donate for all those to come, chances are that it will be somebody that you love who will have to make the same journey I have, hopefully with the same outcome. For those of my friends who don’t live in Australia donate anyway, this community of doctors and researchers share their discoveries without restriction, so whatever they learn here is likely to benefit you there.

Skip that morning coffee for a week and we are there! 

The highest contributor can have the honours (or appoint a proxy) with the clippers!

Andrew

Thank you for your support.

My Updates

Almost there!

Thursday 17th Dec
We are almost there! The last three months of 2020 were a lot easier than last years, which was full of chemo and radiation treatment. This year I’ve only had to deal with COVID, letting Heath, 9, shave my head, and jumping out of a plane! For those of you in badly impacted COVID areas please forgive me for raising it as a challenge - we have been incredibly lucky. 

Here's the link to the skydive. You may notice Vanessa in the background, I surprised her with the jump on the day which she really had no way of saying no too! She, too, was very brave! https://skydiveaustralia.shredvideo.com/f/lXnAEIEacW

We are very close to reaching the $10,000 so if you were thinking, or have promised to donate now is the time to do so. To all those who have donated thank you, I am so proud of my friends and humbled by your generosity and response.

So this blog will bring this chapter to a conclusion, in line with the end of treatment and start of the long recovery. I find this very fitting. Once again a heart felt thanks to all!

Andrew

A years and a day

Friday 30th Oct

30th October 2020

A year ago, today, I woke, after a busy evening of specialist consultations, to new hope that the cancer wouldn’t be the end of me. In the space of six hours I had gone from could I get five more years and see Maiya almost out of school, how would she cope with the HSC/IB and Heath into his teens, to this is something to beat and move on from.  In simple terms I had done my due diligence and placed myself in the expert’s hands at the Lifehouse

Today, a year on, I woke to find the massive level of support from around the world that has taken me by surprise and left me very humbled.

Starting with the sun, I have had promises from New Zealand (but no money yet), donations from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, UAE (thanks Stephen for nominating Heath, 9, as your proxy to shave my head, I can feel the nicks when I think about it!), Israel, South Africa, Italy, Switzerland, France, the UK, Ireland finishing up in the US – over 40 donations from 15 Countries by my count.

I have tried to respond to everyone who has donated or promised but ran out of time last night, if I have missed you, I promise I’ll get there over the weekend.

For anyone else reading this at the start of a similar journey the best advice I can give is to have patience, it has dawned on me that this has been a year and I am only now beginning to feel normal again, with a way to go! So don’t expect miracles and don’t be too hard on yourself.  

Thank you to my Supporters

$1,000

Urban Nurseries Pty Ltd

$1,000

Anonymous

$575

Stephen Albrecht

Andrew.... you have been though hell and come out well.... will all respect that.....good on you. ps..... would appoint Heath as my proxy to do the necessary

$515

Andrew Cameron

Just found out that the Hospital has to pay something towards the skydiving - so I think it is only fair that I cover that - so here is my contribution.

$515

Hamish Flett

Andrew inspirational stuff - delighted to contribute

$500

Sil Malki

Congratulations Andrew!

$261

Andrew Kent

Great initiative, all the best. Can’t wait to see the footage!

$208.80

James, Anita, Madi And Brendan

Such an inspiration. Wishing you many more crazy adventures, and an abundance of health and happiness!

$208.80

Trina And Stephen Butler

You are an inspiration Andrew; you were super positive and faced every turn head on. So very happy to have you to (distance) hug! So much love XXX

$208.80

Ricky Wang

$208.80

Ingrun & Markus

Hi Andrew, sorry to hear what you went through but glad you are doing better. Big hug from all of us, Ingrun, Markus and kids

$208.80

Penny And David

Thank you for helping us soar out of this horrible year. You deserved all that support!

$200

Damian Davine

Andrew, you are a great business man, a demanding leader, politically incorrect to the max, futurist, a prick at times and an extraordinarily generous man and I have sincerely enjoyed my association and friendship with you for quite a few years now. Well done on your battle and better still for raising awareness and funds for others in a similar position. Cheers mate.

$200

Han & Eric

Fantastic News! Thanks for sharing a happy news and good cause.

$187.92

Anonymous

18 is the Hebrew number for life, and a good luck charm for multiples of 18. Such wonderful news. Good luck with the free fall!

$110.66

Clayton West

Keep winning

$104.40

Shannon Hurvitz

$104.40

Raj & Nikki Ray

We had no idea what an ordeal you, Vanessa and the kids have been through. Just wishing you all the very best for the future and applauding your great work raising such important funds.

$104.40

Stephen Fung

You're awesome! Can't wait for the video!

$104.40

Tess

❤️❤️❤️❤️

$104.40

Shay Brown

What a rough year you endured! So glad to have you back and smiling on the other side. I can’t wait to see this!! Good Luck! xx

$104.40

Vanessa Green

Here's to many more sunny days and smiles:) You have been so brave. What's jumping out of a plane? lol xx Love always, Vanessa. xxx

$104.40

Fred Coulson

Geronimo!

$104.40

Alex Raper

Wish we'd been able to support in person! Your dedication during recovery is inspiring and I look forward to seeing the pictures from the skydive

$104.40

Royce & Faye Green

Congratuations on persevering with your extensive treatment. We look forward to happy post-COVID times together.

$104.40

Paul Othen

Andrew, you’re a fighter so it doesn’t surprise me at all that you’re doing well. I won’t lie, I want to see the look of fear so happy to contribute to the worthy cause AND see you jump out of a plane! All the best, Paul

$104.40

Helen Child

$104.40

Paul Kidman

from Paul, Sandy & Katy in Hong Kong

$104.40

Vanne Wilkinson

Well done!

$104.40

Rachel Isert

Awesome Andrew. Great news you are fighting fit and looking forward to seeing your new 💇‍♂️ haircut !

$104.40

Cheryl Raper

Fantastic achievement. Hope we can soon celebrate in person. Enjoy the experience and I look forward to seeing the photos.

$104.40

John Jell

Great news for the all clear, good luck for the jump!

$104.40

Caz King

A, so much ‘GRIT’ & determination this past year to beat the dreaded ‘C’. Such an awesome result! I always knew you could fly! Enjoy the jump. Hugs C x

$104.40

Gal Vered

Thanks for sharing and all the best!

$104.40

Kirsty Schachter

Love you!

$104.40

Gino Uguccioni

What an amazing story. I don’t know if I could ever have matched your courage and stamina. You’re very fortunate to have such wonderfully supportive family and friends around you. Don’t think I’d be brave enough either to jump out of a plane!

$104.40

Vic Cavin

Great to hear you're through the treatment and as ever willing to give yourself to others. An inspirational way of life.

$104.40

Merri Gill

$104.40

Allan Meares

I go to Gym with Penny and David. Good luck.

$104.40

Duncan And Christine

What a great thing to do - and so like you Andrew.

$104.40

The Rileys

Followed your journey through all the pain of your parents - we are overjoyed for them and for you

$104.40

Smiths

Well done Andrew for pushing through the treatment. What an amazing test of resilience for you, Vanessa and the family! Good luck with the SkyDive + Shave, love from the NZ, Mackay & Sydney Smiths!

$104.40

Alan Connolly

Fair play to you Andrew. Great to see you’ve kicked the cancer and come out the other side of a tough year.

$104.40

Hugh Allan

$104.40

Anonymous

We are so pleased to hear the happy ending to your story Andrew. We think that jumping out of a plane and having your head shaved will be a doodle for you after the last year. Such a deserving cause to donate to.

$104.40

Jason Petrovski

Andrew Great to hear you've recovered well and you're now taking on you're next challenge!

$100

Kevin Oconnor

$100

Christian Price

Cannot wait to see it . Good luck xxx

$78.30

Mcfadden Property

$78.30

Carol Howard

Well done Andrew for all you are doing to give to those in need, and for them to be able to go through this journey as you have done - and to come out at the end just like you. My thoughts are with you as you know. With love, xx

$52.20

Anonymous

$52.20

Petrina Angus

Very brave man! Good luck and stay well.

$52.20

Wolfgang Klein

....inspirational as always! The silver lining.

$52.20

Ramona Lam

Andrew, one of the most respectful man I've known so far and not surprised to see you win this battle with a fighter spirit! You look even more handsome than before! :-)

$52.20

Gav

Andrew, you always have been and always will be such an inspiration to many. So glad you have prevailed in the face of such adversity. May you continue to heal and gain strength by doing so much to help others.

$52.20

Johann Bach

So good to see you back in action!

$52.20

Jacquetta Hayes

I am so sorry to hear what you have been through, Jelly. But this is amazing and the best way to celebrate life and living in the moment! So pleased you are surrounded by family and love - Hugs from Switzerland

$52.20

Anonymous

$52.20

Athena Chintis

Andrew, it's great to see you back at work and doing well. All the best for the head shave and the jump! It's a brave action! Athena

$52.20

Suzanne

Andrew, so happy to donate as I’ve too many friends to C. And so very happy you have come out well. Sending heaps of love and a donation to a very deserving cause.

$52.20

Yasmin Howes

My word you are brave! What a wonderful challenge. Stay well :)

$52.20

Paula Cox

What a fantastic effort. Well done Andrew - you’re so inspiring!! Can’t wait to see the bald head! Paula

$52.20

Stephen Cox

Good Man Andrew! Looking forward to seeing you complete the Skydive! All the best. Stephen

$52.20

Shu Heng

What a year! Best news to hear about the all clear and even better to have you back in the office. Good luck boss! :)

$52.20

Alistair Macleod

$52.20

Barbara Mcintosh

$52.20

Tom Banks

Not sure how I missed the lead up to this fella, but not too late. I wish you well in your double endeavour, but looks like you’ve smashed the hardest task. Hope to catch up at a future reunion. Awra Best, Awra Time.

$52.20

Phil Mortimer

If history serves me right, you never had a problem falling. Landing not so much. Happy to help pushing you out of a plane! Just relieved that you don't need the support anymore. Should I start sending the lollipops?

$52.20

Dave Howells

Seems you have been through hell and I knew nothing about it. Helena and I are so pleased that you have come out of it so well and this donation is for all the times we had together. Well done mate

$52.20

Krystyna

Good luck from gym friends of your parents

$52.20

Gopalakrishnan Shanmugam

Hi Andrew I admired you in many ways in seeing you running the business and various circumstances. My sincere prayers to my God to keep you in good health and we all good to see you in action. Here's is a little Donation from me. Take care.. Thank you.

$52.20

Eilish Walsh

Best of Luck with the jump & cut- very brave! Wishing you all the very best!

$41.76

Stephen Johnson

You won’t remember me - but we met 20 years ago at Fox Studios - I’m a friend of Stephen Cox. You bought me beers. Thanks for your story - and great fundraising effort. Well done.

$31.32

Lisa Hauser

$30

Elise Anastasi

Dear Andrew, I was shocked to read your news and so incredibly happy to hear you have emerged out the other side. Sounds like a tough journey you’ve been on and fortunate to have had some good people around you. Take care and hopefully we can catch up at some point. Elise x

$26.10

Jenny Clarke

Hi Andrew, I hope this donation helps you reach your goal. Best wishes Many thanks

$26.10

Lachlan Cameron

Would shave my head with you but it might not come back. Love you x

$26.10

Gill Bredbury

Good luck xx

$26.10

Ali Jensen-mackinnon

Wishing you strength in your ongoing recovery and good luck with your jump! All the best Ali

$26.10

Rob Temple

Great to see you back on your feet, and thank you for giving back.

$26.10

Owen Mcinnes

Well done Mate. A True Champion Keep well.

$26.10

Fiona Siu

Hahaha Yes, I'd like to see you skydive with your strongly recovered & slim body.

$26.10

Brendan Cox

Well done Andrew. I hadn't heard of your illness and treatment. Glad you are out the other side. We cannot control what happens to us in life but we can control how we react to it and you seem to be taking to the challenge head on. Best of luck.

$26.10

Sarah Wanden

Always happy to donate to a good cause. Also particularly happy that we get to see your smiling face on this planet for many more years to come. Regards, Sarah 😊

$26.10

Roz Freebairn

best wishes Andrew

$26.10

Lauren Brown

Glad to hear you’ve come out the other side of treatment with a more positive prognosis. You’re an inspiring man Andrew. Best of luck

$26.10

Kirsten Richards

Best of luck Andrew, as you know I recently lost my darling husband to cancer but I’m so amazed by your brilliant story and your positivity- glad you kicked cancer’s ass xx 😘

$26.10

Shirley Crampton

Glad to hear you are recovering....What a year! Good luck with your sky dive xx

$26.10

Mary Veronica Mcguirk

$26.10

Andra Wilkin

$26.10

Anonymous

$26.10

Tiffany Donnelly

$26.10

Sam Kynaston

$25

Rachel Pirie

What a frightening ride you’ve been on. A skydive is nothing - in fact, a walk on easy street in comparison ! Enjoy the thrill of the jump & I am so happy to hear you are doing well.

$25

Daniel Barca

Hi Andrew, We were shocked and saddened when I heard the news, but reading the story of your recovery made us very happy today. Really hope you, Vanessa and Lachy are doing well! Love Dan & Mia

$25

Jason And Ruth O'connell

Well done on beating your target Andrew!!!

$25

Cheryl Mccoy

Great cause, good luck Andrew you can do it 😉

$25

Mike Macdonell

Well done, Andrew!

$20.88

Renee Scullino