Michael Cameron Whitson

Michael Cameron Whitson

Adventurous, loving, fearless, passionate, accepting

Cam had an unmatched zest for life. He was an adventurer and happiest in nature. He loved kayaking, hiking, camping, swimming, cliff climbing and jumping off. Cam saw life differently than most and didn’t place boundaries on himself. He was a fearless free spirit, going headfirst into everything. Not cut out for a conventional path, he wanted to live and enjoy life on his own terms.

Cam had a natural aptitude for sports and played several, but really excelled at wrestling, earning many gold medals in tournaments. He also had a passion for various kinds of music such as rap, country and especially classic rock and knew the words to hundreds of songs. His family played Grateful Dead music at his home-going service officiated by his grandfather, who is a pastor.

Cam loved to eat and had a gourmet palette; “if you took him out to dinner,” his dad Kevin said, ‘you needed to be prepared for him to order the most expensive thing on the menu.’ He loved lobster, steak, organic vegetables and fruits and could put away a lot of pancakes but only, of course, with pure maple syrup.” Cam was kind, respectful and 100% a mama’s boy. He and his mom, Bethany, had a special bond; he was mischievous and playful and loved making her laugh and scream. He would tease and pester her but also rub her shoulders, give her big hugs and sit next to her on the couch and share his feelings.

Cam finished three years of college toward a business degree and was happy with his girlfriend, Evelyn, but eventually the drugs took over. Cam could make a friend in a minute and was accepting of everyone, no matter how messed up they might be. This worked to his detriment toward the end, as he befriended people who supported his addiction.

On Valentine’s Day 2020, Cam overdosed twice in 24 hours and was revived with Narcan. “It was the turning point that helped him confront spiritual realities,” his dad said, ‘he sincerely made amends with people he hurt, and was trying very hard to beat his addiction.’ After doing everything possible to help their son, Cam’s parents sent him to a rehab facility out of state near his grandparents’ home. After his 28-day stay he was substance free for the next several weeks and his family had a glimmer of hope. But Cam was still struggling and passed away soon after.

His parents say Cam’s addiction and eventual death have changed them a great deal. “It gives you a new perspective on how substance use affects everyone in the family and makes you more empathetic,” his mom said, ‘Cam knew he was loved, not everyone has that.’ His dad said, “Cam always had high standards and encouraged people to be the best version of themselves, to push and do better; he just couldn’t seem to do it for himself.”

Cam’s parents, Kevin and Bethany Whitson, provided the information for this narrative.

March 27, 1999-May 22, 2020
Age 21- Lived with addiction 6 years

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