Cameron Mathison from 'All My Children' Battled Rare Bone Disease Years before His Cancer Diagnosis

Aby Rivas
Mar 04, 2020
02:00 P.M.
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“All My Children” star Cameron Mathison has been candid about his battle with kidney cancer since he was diagnosed in September 2019. But this isn’t the first time Mathison battles a serious disease.


Cameron Mathison is a glass-half-full type of guy. Even throughout the most challenging times, he manages to stay positive, and he owes that trait of his personality to his childhood experience with Legg-Perthes disease.

Cameron Mathison on the set of Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on October 30, 2018 | Photo: GettyImages



Canadian born actor Cameron Mathison never planned to become a star. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and had a fence company with his brother.

But despite the bad experience, Cameron is grateful to his parents for putting him through it; otherwise, he would’ve been walking funny his entire life.

Cameron Mathison visits Hallmark's "Home & Family" celebrating 'Christmas In July' at Universal Studios Hollywood on July 24, 2018 | Photo: GettyImages


Then one day, he met someone at a bar who suggested he should try modeling and gave him a card. Soon after, Cameron started doing commercials, and that led to acting classes.

Although he had taken some small roles in Canadian television in 1997, it was after he traveled to New York in 1998, and landed the part of Ryan Lavery in the sitcom “All My Children,” that he became a familiar name to TV shows enthusiasts.

Cameron portrayed the role until 2011, and during that time, he also appeared on series like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “What I Like About You,” “Hope & Faith,” “Castle,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Drop Dead Diva.”


Cameron Mathison attends the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries 2017 Summer TCA Tour on July 27, 2017 | Photo: GettyImages

He also hosted s reality and game shows, and even became a collaborator on “Good Morning America,” from 2009 to 2015. 


Cameron has appeared in at least 12 films from the Hallmark/Crown Media family, including the “Murder, She Baked” franchise and “A Christmas To Remember.” On top of the films, Cameron has been the host of Hallmark’s morning talk show “Home and Family” since 2018.


Cameron was a happy little kid growing up in Sarnia, Canada, when he was diagnosed with Legg-Perthes disease, a rare degenerative bone disease that usually affects kids between the ages of 4 and 6.


According to the Perthes organization, the disease occurs when “the blood supply to the hip is temporarily interrupted, causing bone and tissue damage. Without sufficient blood and nutrients, the bone begins to collapse and die.”

Cameron’s mother was a nurse, so she knew something was off when the boy started hobbling and complained about pain in one of his legs.

“It persisted,” said Bill Mathison, Cameron’s father. “So, we took him to a doctor, and immediately when he saw him walking with a characteristic limp, he diagnosed him.”



Cameron was given a leg-brace to keep his femur inside his hip joint. He slept and walked with the brace and crutches for over four years, something that affected him not only physically but emotionally because everyone stared at him.

“It was very frustrating to learn how to move around in the brace,” Cameron told ABC News, and continued:

“To learn how to play and keep up with the other kids. I would try to fit in the best I could — I mean, I couldn’t walk through a doorway, it was so wide, you know?”


For little Cameron, it was hard to fall asleep with the brace on. Through the entire time that he had it, his mother had to console him and stay with him stroking his hair until he fell asleep.

“It was a pretty traumatic experience, the going to sleep thing,” Cameron admitted. And still, he added, the worst part was “being made fun of, and being stared at.”

But despite the bad experience, Cameron is grateful to his parents for putting him through it; otherwise, he would’ve been walking funny his entire life.



After the four years with the leg-brace passed, Mathison was determined to prove himself he was better, so he became a pro-active kid with an unmeasurable love for sports and any other activity that implied movement.

He joined “Dancing with the Stars” on its fifth season and came in fifth place with pro-dancer Edyta Śliwińska. For his parents, watching Cameron dance was an emotional ride because they couldn’t have imagined that he would be able to do the kind of moves that the show requires.

“I became super active, probably just to make up for being the ‘crippled kid,’ because people stared,” Cameron told Closer Weekly. “I probably, on some level, identified with being that kid for a lot of my life. I definitely overdid it with activities.”


Cameron Mathison and wife Vanessa Arevalo attend the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Winter 2016 TCA press tour at Tournament House on January 8, 2016 | Photo: GettyImages

Cameron is now an honoree board member for the Legg Calve Perthes Foundation, and last year he played on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and donated his earnings to the organization.



Cameron leads a healthy life, always exercising, eating a balanced diet, and practicing mindfulness with meditation.

He has been married to wife Vanessa Arevalo for 17 years, and they share two kids:  Lucas, 16, and Leila, 13.


In January 2019, Cameron claimed that he was living “the happiest” time in his life thanks to his family, his job, and his clean health slate.

However, eight months later, doctors found a renal cell carcinoma on Cameron’s kidney. The tumor, they said, had been growing in Cameron for the past decade and luckily hadn’t spread.


For Cameron, it was a lesson about how cancer doesn't discriminate, but as he explained in “Good Morning America" he believes his active lifestyle was key in keeping the tumor at bay. He said:

“I don’t drink, eat incredibly healthy, I eat a very low sugar, low carbohydrate diet typically. Things that likely in our best guess have helped it from spreading and growing even quicker.”

Cameron went through a partial nephrectomy, a surgery to have the rumor and part of the kidney removed, which was a choice he made after consulting with his doctors.

He went back to work two weeks later and decided to share his journey with his audience to raise awareness about early prevention and, hopefully, help other people.


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