Brother Rice student loses fight with cancer
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org August 25, 2014 8:13PM
Cameron Fahey, 17, a popular student at Brother Rice High School in Chicago, died Thursday. He is being remembered as "an inspiration to all." | Supplied photo
Updated: September 27, 2014 6:17AM
Cameron M. Fahey was a popular student at Brother Rice High School, where he was a straight-A student preparing to enter his senior year, Principal Jim Antos said.
Cameron’s father, Brian Fahey, said his only child was a diligent student — scoring a 34 on the ACT college entrance exam — and still found time to play guitar, dabble in art and enjoy reruns of his favorite cartoon shows as a child.
Cameron, 17, of Chicago’s Beverly community, died late Thursday at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago after fighting cancer for nearly a year. Brother Rice will be closed Wednesday so faculty, staff and students can attend his funeral.
“He was extraordinary, an excellent student,” Antos said. “To give you an idea, we had to reschedule his advanced placement test for U.S. history to this summer, and he got a perfect score while he was in treatment. He was extremely diligent as a student.”
He said Cameron didn’t complain about being ill — missing a few days while being treated for Burkitt’s Lymphoma, often rushing to school after a doctor’s appointment or cancer treatment.
“He had the strength of a lion in terms of his heart. There was no false arrogance. He just took care of business,” Antos said.
Cameron hoped to attend Brown University, an Ivy League school, Brother Rice president Kevin Burns said.
“For a kid to go through what he went through, to maintain the focus and standard of excellence he did (is impressive). We had some hope that he would be able to get through this,” Burns said.
His parents, Brian and Hallie Fahey, were also optimistic, especially after their son’s cancer was in remission in June and the process had begun for Cameron to receive a bone marrow transplant. A donor was found, and the transplant was scheduled for Aug. 13, Brian said.
However, on July 25, Cameron began feeling pain again. The cancer had returned. The transplant was put on hold as Cameron endured more treatments, which this time did not succeed.
While his son was an outstanding student, his life was not all schoolwork, his father said.
“He played a little guitar, a little bass. He liked to play video games. He loved animation and cartoons. He retained, in a good way, childlike qualities,” Brian said. “He wasn’t afraid to watch a cartoon he enjoyed as a little kid. He said it was funny then and it’s funny now. ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ was his favorite. I’d watch it with him.
“On the other side, he could be pretty sophisticated. He was a huge fan of George Carlin. I turned him onto that at an early age, swearing and all. He was smart and liked Carlin’s intelligent humor.”
Cameron graduated from St. Barnabas School in 2011. He played basketball and Little League baseball for years, including a couple of seasons with his dad as the manager and Brian’s brother, Jack Fahey, as the coach.
“He was a good ballplayer. He pitched, he caught and he played first base for the team. He was left-handed and still caught,” Jack said of his nephew. “He was close to my three kids, to all his cousins. My son, Jacob, used to pick up Cam at school and stay with him until his parents got home from work. ... Even in the hospital, when you’d give him a drink of water or leave to go home after visiting, he’d say ‘thanks for coming.’”
A memorial service will be held soon at Brother Rice for Cameron, Antos said.
Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at St. Barnabas Church, 1013 S. Longwood Drive, Chicago. A funeral Mass begins at 10 a.m.
Wednesday. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Memorials can be made to the Cameron Miller Fahey Memorial Scholarship
Fund, P.O. Box 437742, Chicago, IL 60643.