Updated: Oct 27
Picture yourself submerged in tranquil water, weightless and free. With every stroke or paddle, you glide effortlessly, your worries washing away with each ripple. It's a moment of pure freedom.
Now, meet Cameron Corno, a remarkable young girl who has discovered that same sense of liberation in the water. She isn't just swimming; she is finding solace. For Cameron, those moments in the water are when she feels most free and happy as she faces the impact of a brain tumor.
Cameron's journey is a story of courage, resilience, and the power to inspire change. This is the tale of a five-year-old girl who defies the odds every day, with a mission that promises a brighter future for all children.
“I love to swim!” A drawing by Cameron Corno, age 5
Cameron is a lively five-year-old; a bundle of energy and creativity. Her days are full of laughter, joy, and dreams. She's the kind of child who loves to dance, paint, swim, and play doctor. She's a cherished daughter and a loving big sister, and has a smile that could light up a whole room.
In March 2020, Cameron's life took an abrupt turn. Her parents noticed something amiss with their usually energetic daughter. After an overnight hospital stay and several tests later, the results were life-altering: a tumor was compressing Cameron's brain stem.
Cameron underwent a 14-hour operation, followed by two additional brain surgeries. The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) became her temporary home, a place where her parents watched her struggle to relearn the most basic human functions—how to eat, drink, talk, sit, crawl, and walk.
Seven weeks of radiation followed, as did four rounds of intensive chemotherapy. And, in December 2020, due to an inoperable spot on her spine, Cameron began a year-long regimen of oral chemotherapy.
Through it all, Cameron's spirit remained unbroken. Her love for swimming, the very activity that brought her joy and freedom before her diagnosis, served as a symbol of her resilience. She swam in a sea of uncertainty with remarkable courage, a beacon of hope for her parents in their darkest hours.
Unfortunately, in August 2023, an MRI revealed that Cameron’s cancer had returned. She had yet another major brain surgery and has started a 6-week radiation regimen with the possibility of chemotherapy to follow. The family is fighting to follow Cameron’s example of positivity and perseverance.
Cameron’s diagnosis has ignited a community to come together, yet again, to raise awareness and funds to support research for more effective treatments for children with brain cancer. At five years old, she has a mission: to fight and inspire others to do the same.
The Lilabean Foundation’s Commitment to Cures
For Cameron's parents, every day has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Amid the struggle, the Lilabean Foundation (LBF) emerged as a source of strength—a place that not only recognizes the depth of her family's anguish but also offers unwavering support when they need it most.
The family, filled with uncertainty and challenges, found a kindred spirit in Nicole Giroux, the founder of LBF. Nicole, a mother herself, knows firsthand the anguish of watching a child challenged by a life-threatening illness. Her daughter, Lila, also has brain cancer, and Nicole has walked the same painful path as Cameron's parents. After learning that brain cancer is the most fatal childhood cancer and that treatment options are severely lacking, the Lilabean Foundation was born in 2011.
Over the past 12 years, LBF has grown, extending its impact to support families like Cameron's around the world. The mission has remained unwavering: to fund ground-breaking research for children battling brain cancer today, while forging critical partnerships with leading-edge organizations to eradicate this disease forever.
"We're not just a foundation; we're a force for change. The support we receive from our community and partners like CBTN fuel our determination to find a cure." - Nicole Giroux, Founder & Executive Director at Lilabean Foundation
Better Treatments Today, an End to Cancer Soon
In the quest to combat childhood brain cancer, another organization stands shoulder to shoulder with LBF—the Children's Brain Tumor Network (CBTN). As a CBTN Executive Council member, LBF embraces the network’s two-fold imperative: to develop more effective treatments for kids today and eradicate these diseases for a brighter tomorrow. They are doing this by aggregating valuable data and resources across institutions and making them readily available to researchers and clinicians worldwide.
CBTN is a driving force behind accelerating research breakthroughs by as much as two decades. Their dedication to making a difference aligns seamlessly with the LBF mission. Together, this network is changing the course of history for children like Cameron, where data from young patients like her can illuminate understanding of the disease and pave the way for innovative treatments.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Amazon Web Services (AWS) has forged a groundbreaking collaboration with CBTN in recognition of the network’s leadership in securely aggregating multi-modal data on consented patient from 35 member institutions and making that data accessible to researchers around the globe working to find cures for childhood brain cancer patients. AWS and CBTN are leading the way when it comes to open science models and harnessing the power of near-real time data and generative AI to help researchers, clinicians and biopharma companies work collaboratively to expedite the development of more precise, life-saving treatments.
The benefits of this collaboration extend beyond Cameron's journey. It extends to every child who faces the daunting diagnosis of childhood brain cancer. It's about ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow, explore, and experience the feeling of complete freedom, just as Cameron does when she swims. And, it's about a future where the challenges of today become distant memories for all.
Hope for Cameron and All Kids
Cameron is more than a symbol of hope—she's an inspiration. In 2023, she became the artist for the AWS Limited Edition Healthcare Pin, a testament to her enduring determination. She serves as a reminder of why we must never give up. When a parent learns of a brain cancer diagnosis, the clock starts ticking, and it's up to organizations like LBF, CBTN, and AWS to accelerate research for cures.
To support this transformative partnership of the Lilabean Foundation, the Children’s Brain Tumor Network, and thousands of patient families like Cameron’s, GIVE NOW.
“I like swimming because, even when I couldn’t walk, I could swim. People say I’m Super Cameron and I think swimming is my super power!” - Cameron Corno