KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- In the sport of boxing, some fighters battle for Olympic gold. However, sometimes, the stakes are much higher. Such is the case for an Olympic hopeful from the metro, who fights to show support to a loved one fighting for her life.
Idol worship comes in many forms. For three-time national Golden Gloves champion Cam Awesome, it resembles a son's concern for his mother.
Awesome, 92-20 as an amateur, wants to make the U.S. National Boxing team, targeting the 2016 Olympics in Rio. When Cam fights in non-Olympic events, his ring attire turns pink, including pink gloves, pink headgear and sometimes, a pink cape he’s been pictured wearing into the ring.
Camellia White, 47, is the executive director of KCK's Turner Rec Center, and has become a mother figure to Cam. She is currently fighting stage four cervical cancer, and it’s the third time White has fought cancer since 2008. Doctors say her cancer is incurable.
“I come from a positive family, and I was positive I was going to kick cancer's butt,” said White.
“She was the lady who would yell at me for doing stupid things. She wouldn't let me climb over counters or say inappropriate things in the building. She's like the building mom,” Awesome said, while sitting in the boxing gym at Turner Rec.
She's still working, sometimes six days per week, managing a rec center that keeps inner city kids off the streets. Doctors have discontinued treatment for White's cancer, but she won't stop helping kids.
“My community is what I've been for the last 15 years. It's my passion. It's coming to work every day and seeing kids like cam. This is their place sometimes,” White said.
White says she is winning her fight against cancer, but for how long? Doctors didn't expect her to live through the summer months. Awesome says if she can win the fight for her life, boxing should be easy.
“I can pretty much do whatever I want,” Awesome said. “If I have a goal or something I want to do, now, I don't really hesitate, I just do it.”
And she's excelling too, and giving kids a place based in peace.
As it stands, Cam Awesome sits two steps away from the Olympic team. He’s scheduled to appear in the Continental Boxing Championships in Venezuela on August 15th. He says he’s traveling to Colorado on Wednesday, where he’ll continue his workouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.