Cancer survivor & a real “trooper” for the Girl Scouts
May 31, 2017 09:59AM ● Published by Today's Family
Heidi Lee Cameron and her daughter MacKenzie
Being a Girl Scout troop leader or service unit director can be a tiring task for someone in good health. But, taking on those roles while battling breast cancer can be a daunting task. That is, unless you are Heidi Lee Cameron.
In November of 2015, Cameron was diagnosed with breast cancer. “At that time I was the ‘cookie mom’ for my unit and troop. I was very excited to be a co-leader [someone who mentors a group of same grade girls who meet a few times per month] for 18 girls in Wickliffe, working and sitting at 10 cookie booths during the time I was going through chemotherapy. It was typical for a troop to sit and work at two cookie booths, but I chose to work and sit at 10. People told me I was crazy, but I did it for the girls, and just kept pushing myself along,” said Cameron.
That dedication paid big dividends for her 8-year-old daughter, MacKenzie, who sold 2,249 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, which was a remarkable achievement considering that Wickliffe is a smaller unit.
“Chemotherapy was pretty rough for me. I couldn’t walk more than 5–10 feet at a time and had to stop to rest often. The more treatments I had, the more it wreaked havoc on my body” says Cameron. “People told me to slow down and take a rest and not work so hard, but I felt that helping the Girl Scouts was what I was supposed to be doing. I was also working full time during the day. What was I supposed to do––sit home and feel sorry for myself? No! I pushed myself through.”
She not only pushed herself through, but took on a greater role in April 2016 by becoming the service unit director––a role that has her working with all the troop leaders within her unit. Her positive attitude and tireless work helped her to flip the entire unit around and get it pointed in the right direction.
On April 29 Cameron’s service unit won the President’s Award. There are 129 service units in the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio with only 11 winning the award –– the only one in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.
Cameron said, “This award is special to me because we are a small unit, therefore it is much harder to get volunteers and girls. The President’s Award for the whole unit is based on our exemplary efforts in our area in reaching our goals in our membership of 2017, which includes training new members, and having every service unit position filled. Renewal is a big thing. Of course we had to keep promoting the Girl Scouts in a good way.”
Cameron has a continuous thirst for knowledge about the Girl Scouts and has always sought out information about the organization. An interesting fact that inspired her to become a service unit director was about Juliet Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts in 1912. “I learned that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1920. When I was asked to take over the position that I have now, I just felt like it was a calling to me,” said Cameron.
She concludes, “I am in remission now, but the Girl Scouts kept me going. I really didn’t want to sit and think about my cancer. I get so much out of the Girl Scouts and what it does for my girls. I feel it has done more for me than I have done for it.”
For more information about the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, visit www.gsneo.org.