Purple Community Blog

11 May 2017

Kelli Arnold’s Story

My story is about my son­­­­, Cameron Arnold. Cameron was healthy, in great shape and a sailor in the United States Navy, but that changed in December of 2013. He started experiencing medical issues — jaundice, lower back pain and diarrhea. Originally he was diagnosed with an ulcer in the duodenum. It was three months after the ulcer diagnosis when Cameron was diagnosed with liver cancer.

We traveled from California — where Cameron was then stationed — to St. Louis, Missouri to inquire about a liver transfer. Unfortunately, we were told it with stage 4 cancer a liver transfer was unavailable. We then returned to Michigan with Cameron on March 1, 2014 to begin chemo treatment.

One month later we rushed Cameron to the emergency room in Grand Rapids, where he started working with a team of dedicated doctors. It was during a Whipple procedure that his doctors discovered he had primary pancreatic cancer with metastasis in other areas of his body.

This was unimaginable. Our son was only 21 years old and in the best shape of his life. While the original cancer diagnosis was devastating, Cameron had hope and never stopped smiling. He believed he would beat it.

It’s so hard to put into words. Cancer stole our first born, a brother and a father to a beautiful two year old girl, who will never understand. Cancer broke my heart and shattered my world.

I believe and hope that the scientists at Van Andel Institute will, one day, be able to prevent this from happening to other families. I know we are not the only family experiencing this and I pray for those who are currently on their cancer journey. There is no explanation and there is no way to repair broken hearts. I have hope, as my son did, and that is the reason I am joining #TeamHOPE in the Fifth Third River Bank Run in support of Purple Community. To hear more of my story, or support my efforts to raise funds for cancer research at Van Andel Institute, click here.


Fifth Third River Bank Run #TeamHOPE
Kelli is running for Team Hope in the Fifth Third River Bank Run in honor of her son. Why will you run? You can help raise awareness, celebrate those battling cancer or Parkinson’s disease and honor those that have passed by joining Team Hope. The commitment is simple — raise $100 by race day and take advantage of various team perks. You will have access to training, an energized group of supporters and 100% of every dollar you fundraise will directly support research happening at Van Andel Institute. To learn more about joining Team Hope in the Fifth Third River Bank Run, click here.

Share Your Story
It’s beautiful stories, like this one, that continue to inspire the Purple Community team every day. Whether it’s grieving the loss of a loved one, or joy from celebrating years of being cancer free, we hold each and every story close to our hearts. Your words breathe new energy into the importance of giving to research, hope and discovery. We hope you take this time to tell your story to Purple Community by clicking here.