Monday, August 23, 2010

A Friend In Need

Brian Camp is a friend of mine. We first met when he coached our oldest son's t-ball team 15 years ago. Brian was a healthy, former star high school baseball and basketball player who had a love of teaching young people to art of the game. Shortly after that experience, Brian was diagnosed with debilitating Parkinson's disease. We stayed in touch over the years. And in 2004, Brian and I co-managed a Little League baseball team together. He really was the manager. I just helped organize and did what I could to assist with teaching the game. Brian never let his disease get in the way. I respect him greatly and pray for him every day. Please do the same. There's a fundraiser for Brian being held next month. Click on the above title to donate online if you feel called to do so.


By Kristi O'Harran, Herald Columnist

Team Lexi set the bar very, very high.

An upcoming golf tournament for a medical-needs campaign called Camp Brian may not produce the same monetary windfall, but its heart is in the same place.

Brian Camp, 52, was on Team Lexi. Now he needs help because he has Parkinson's disease. A fundraising group that calls itself Camp Brian aims to raise money to help the single father and his three school-aged children.

Really, what goes around comes around in this case.

Let's take a look back at Team Lexi to understand how these friends operate.

Lexi Frost, a junior at Lake Stevens High School, and her family live on Lake Stevens. She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 22 months old.

There were two years of treatment and remission, then in December 1997, the cancer came back.

Friends formed Team Lexi. They took turns on 24-hour shifts to help with child care, trips to the pharmacy and organizing meal deliveries.

The team included movers and shakers in these parts: Folks who gave and didn't expect to see their well-known names splashed in the newspaper.

To help pay for Lexi's medical expenses, they sold candy bars at ferry docks and Team Lexi T-shirts. They raised an amazing $165,000.

That wasn't the big miracle.

Lexi's brother, Brennan, donated the bone marrow that saved his sister's life.

The family, including Michelle Frost, nurse manager with the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Seattle Children's Hospital; Whitney Frost, an orthopedic physician at the Everett Clinic; and their oldest son, Riley, never forgot how many people helped them.

Michelle Frost said money collected was used for part of the transplant that wasn't covered, including $50,000 they paid up front and for medicine (a huge monthly expense) and months of lodging for the family while Lexi was in the hospital.

Frost said it was humbling to be on the receiving end of donations. She said Brian Camp, a lifelong friend, was active with Team Lexi.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's about the same time as Lexi's transplant. Camp is confronting the full force of the debilitating disease and its downward spiral.

"When Brian was reeling from the effects of his Parkinson's disease, unable to work and facing brain surgery, a similar group -- made up of the same high school friends and Brian's lifetime friends and family -- joined forces to raise money," Frost said. "From my point of view, in America, this is one of the ways we extend our support, our hands and our prayers. We give money, which means, 'We are with you.'"

Words of encouragement are helpful, Frost said, but words don't keep the lights on.

Camp was born in Seattle to a family with seven children. His father took a truck driving job in Everett and they moved to the Eastmont area.

He graduated in 1976 from Cascade High School and in 1982 from Central Washington University.

Camp worked for many years for Boys & Girls Clubs and ran a pub for eight years in south Everett.

"I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1997 by several neurologists at the Everett Clinic," he wrote via e-mail. "I had deep brain stimulation several times. It is a very long story."

To help with expenses, a fundraiser golf tournament is planned for 9 a.m. Sept. 17 at Legion Memorial Golf Course, 144 W. Marine View Drive in Everett. Sign in at 8 a.m. The cost is $125 per player.

Also, a Camp Brian "funraiser" is planned for 7 p.m. at Floral Hall at Forest Park, 802 Mukilteo Blvd., Everett. The suggested donation is $30.

For more information on both events, go online to

One member of Camp Brian is only 5 feet tall.

"She is so tiny, even after growth hormones," Lexi's mother said. "However, a very small price to pay for what is now called our 'normal' life."

Lexi is a big supporter of Camp Brian.

"I love Brian, he is like family to me," Lexi said. "It's an amazing thing to have so many people pulling for you."

Kristi O'Harran: 425-339-3451; .

For Camp Brian

A fundraiser golf tournament to benefit Brian Camp, who has Parkinson's disease, is planned for 9 a.m. Sept. 17 at Legion Memorial Golf Course, 144 W. Marine View Drive in Everett. Sign in at 8 a.m. The cost is $125 per player.

A "funraiser" is planned for 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Floral Hall at Forest Park, 802 Mukilteo Blvd., Everett. The suggested donation is $30.

For more information, go online to

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