Community pulls together after loss of young man

Jarrad Camille, 20, died after being diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer.

By Brendan Rees

The Casey community is rallying around the family of a much-loved son and brother who lost his battle with metastatic bowel cancer on Sunday 26 July.

Jarrad Camille, 20, died after being diagnosed with the disease in November last year. After enduring eight months of invasive therapy and surgery things however took a turn for the worse and doctors recently advised his family that there were no further treatment options available.

Upon hearing the heartbreaking news, his family decided to bring him home – which they say was possible through the help of the Bolton Clarke nurses for wound care which have been looking after Jarrad following the surgery in February and also the nurses and doctors of Bethlehem Palliative Care that managed his daily medication.

His mother Romina Camille said Jarrad had been through four of six cycles of chemotherapy which were disrupted due to emergency surgery, which meant the chemotherapy had to be paused for a short while.

“We have to thank the surgeons of Monash Medical and the Colorectal Surgeons from Dandenong that were able to operate on him that day,” she said.

“Sadly, while healing from surgery the opportunity to start chemotherapy again didn’t eventuate and he continued to have setbacks.

To make things harder, the family were unable to visit Jarrad in hospital when Victoria underwent its first round of coronavirus lockdown.

But the family say the team at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre had been incredible from day one. “We can’t thank them enough,” Camille said.

Known for his “wicked sense of humour” and quiet nature, Jarrad has lived in Bentleigh his whole life with extended family in Lynbrook, and was remembered as a loving and loyal person who was devoted to his girlfriend.

He was also an “incredible and passionate hockey” player at the Southern United Hockey Club. He took up the sport aged seven and became a role to other players and childhood friends.

“So many looked up to him and one of the hardest parts for him and our family is knowing that he won’t be able to play again,” Ms Camille said.

While Jarrad was nearing the end of his journey, his family set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised $29,430 of a $30,000 target.

“We know how expensive funeral expenses can be and had been wondering how we could make it happen for him,” Ms Camille said. “That’s why my cousins suggested a GoFundMe page and organised this for us. The response has been like nothing we ever imagined.”

Ms Camille said the “unbelievable generosity” of the community was overwhelming, as well as messages from many friends and family.

“They’ve come from far and wide and it’s been reassuring knowing that people are out there supporting our family throughout Jarrad’s journey.”

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