BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Huffman senior Cameron Humes stands 6’9”, 185 pounds.
His pure, athletic build drew attention at a young age.
“Like 7th grade, coaches always wanted me to play football, but I always played basketball. That love for basketball, it’s always been there for me,” said Humes.
Cam’s love for basketball came easy, but his journey to becoming a star player did not.
“Get my mind off everything that’s outside these four lines, it’s just like the school work, everyday life, just being in my zone and comfortable with who I am,” said the Huffman senior.
Basketball become Cam’s escape when he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure at 13 years old.
“At first I didn’t know how to take it in. There was a lot of crying because I didn’t know what life was going to be like after that.”
Life wasn’t easy, but the Humes family refused to let the diagnosis define them.
“Cameron has the best support system at home. His mom and dad are so upbeat. They won’t allow Cameron to succumb or give in to his illness. That’s his basis. That’s his backbone,” said Cameron’s counselor Beverly Hackett.
Cam’s parents Tara and Derrick helped their son stay focused on academics and athletics while aiding him through a year of dialysis treatment awaiting a transplant. That life-saving phone call came during the peak of Cam’s junior basketball season at Huffman.
“We were really depending on him to be a huge factor for our team and when his junior year started, it started off well. But we knew he was on the list to have a kidney transplant,” said Huffman head coach Steve Ward.
“I was at the barbershop and getting ready to go to Tuscaloosa for the Thanksgiving tournament. And my mom picked me up and said the doctor called and they think they found a match,” said Humes.
Temporarily stepping away from basketball was difficult, but Cam knew the surgery would be life-changing.
“At first I was like, why did it have to come at this time. I was doing so well, I was already a starter. So I cried a little bit.”
Not long after his 17th birthday, Cam received a donated kidney. He spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and missed a month of school.
“When you have a surgery it takes a while to get back. But once he started getting stronger he turned into different player.”
In his senior season, Cam became Huffman’s leading scorer and led the Vikings to the Elite 8. But his perseverance off the floor is even more impressive.
“I heard him say, when I’m on the basketball court I’m in the zone. But when he’s in the classroom he’s in the zone as well,” said Hackett.
Cameron Humes will graduate as Huffman’s 2019 Valedictorian, boasting an incredible 4.46 GPA… a testament to his strong faith, parent’s guidance and a tribute to his greater purpose in life.
“Unfortunately he is deceased, so I just do everything to keep his family hope alive and that as long as I have his kidney, he’s always with me and I’m doing it for his honor,” said Humes.