James Cameron was our son, a talented local musician and a beautiful soul. He was a young man who loved to entertain, who poured his heart into concerts and charitable events, and had ambitious dreams as an emerging musician on the Nashville country music scene. But his dreams weren’t coming true as fast as he’d hoped they would. On the outside it looked like everything was going his way but inside he was a mix of emotions.
January marked one year since we lost our beloved son to suicide because of mental illness. In some respects it seems like just yesterday. His loss is so surreal.
While our pain is unimaginable, we want people to remember James for his talent and his kindness. It’s why we chose to direct all memorial gifts raised at a tribute concert in James’ honour to benefit music therapy and speech therapy at KidsAbility.
Of course the first natural reaction would have been to donate to a mental health organization and yes, there’s no question as to the importance of their work. But we felt there was a more pressing need at KidsAbility. James was always there for others – especially his two nieces, Layla and Zofia, whom he loved fiercely. Sharing his love of music with them meant everything to him.
Until two and a half years ago we knew of KidsAbility only through their incredible work of helping others in our community. But it all came rushing home when Zofia was born with profound hearing loss.
At only 5 month old Zofia seemed so young when she began receiving speech therapy services from KidsAbility. We quickly realized that it was just what our youngest granddaughter needed for the best outcome, and she began right away. It was the first step for our daughter Jennifer and her fiancé, Martin, to discover services and to practice speech at home.
Zofia is just over two now and she’s talking like crazy. She and her parents now meet with her Speech and Language therapist, Heather, for virtual speech therapy once a month. Like many toddlers, Zofia gets easily distracted but Heather keeps her engaged with screen activities, which she loves.
It’s amazing as grandparents to see Zofia achieve so much – she is a bright light and a miracle. We’ve seen firsthand how speech therapy has helped and we know KidsAbility’s work has only begun for her.
We raised our family in a house filled with music. James and his older sister Britanie often sang together. Because music means so much to our family we wanted to extend that experience to more children. It’s why we also chose to support music therapy at KidsAbility School. We know that music therapy can heal. If even one child finds their voice and is helped through a difficult time, it’s what James would have wanted.
KidsAbility has been a tremendous support for our family. It’s our hope to call attention to the needs of children with challenges in our immediate community and that, by sharing James’ legacy, more children will benefit from speech and music therapy at KidsAbility.
Ken and Chris Cameron – proud grandparents of Layla and Zofia, and sustaining supporters of KidsAbility
A note from Lisa Talbot, Executive Director, KidsAbility Foundation: The Cameron’s share James’ story of mental health with hope that other families will find the help they need. Here are a few online resources to support adult and youth mental health within our regions: