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Strong and True

  • Cameron as a member of the Notre Dame football team

  • Cameron and family with Director of Player Development and Engagement Ernest Jones

  • Trying on a Notre Dame football helmet

  • Cameron with the players

“ I can be what I want to be. ”

Cameron Experiences Firsthand the Thrill of Being Part of the Fighting Irish

The Notre Dame football games, the atmosphere and the culture.  Cameron thrives on it.  This fifteen-year-old wish kid has been a Notre Dame football fan for about as long as he can remember. However, unlike most football fans, he is battling kidney disease and had a transplant when he was only three years old. 

Because of his condition, Cameron is unable to play tackle football.  But with the help of Make-A-Wish® and the Notre Dame football program, Cameron's wish of becoming a member of the Fighting Irish came true.

When Cameron and his family arrived on campus, nothing could have prepared them for the surprises that were in store.  Cameron will never forget how Notre Dame welcomed him as if he were one of their own, giving him a thunderous applause and standing ovation as he was introduced at a team meeting.

“Cam has been such a Notre Dame fan. I hope they realize how special they’ve made him feel. To walk down those steps and have our heroes applaud us was very very humbling. We are in great gratitude to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the great people at Notre Dame,” Cameron’s father said with tears in his eyes.

Notre Dame gave Cameron the full football experience. As part of his wish, Cameron toured the campus and met the football staff and coaches. He also ate dinner with the team before joining his family at O'Rourke's as special guests of Coach Kelly during his weekly live radio show. Cameron had the opportunity to attend a team practice, tour the press box, and be a part of the pep rally on Friday night. On Saturday, Cameron participated in the team walk across campus into the stadium where he watched final warm-ups from the sidelines, then joined the crowd in the stands to watch the game. Cameron even went to Mass with the team during his time on campus.

What made his wish extra special was his connection with Coach Bob Elliott.  Witnessing Elliott coach football despite his own kidney health issues gave Cameron hope.

“When I see Coach Elliott coaching it makes me think of how people who have had this can do anything they want. He gave me hope that I can be around the sport even though I can’t play it and I can be involved with it,” Cameron said.  

Cameron and his family left Notre Dame overwhelmed with gratitude, joy and hope.  For Cameron, the entire experience was simply "amazing." 

If Coach Elliott can be Coach Elliott at Notre Dame with a kidney transplant with similar medical challenges Cam has had, I think Cam looks at that and says ‘I can do that. I can be like him. I don’t have to be a kidney transplant patient. I can be what I want to be.’ ”

— Cameron's father

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