For Camara, a cancer survivor, it’s been a long time coming.
The Wildcats defensive end was just 13 years old when he started having pain in his side and spent three days sick with a fever. A trip to the doctor revealed a tumor under his left lung; he was later diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma.
Four years later and after three and a half years of chemotherapy treatments, Camara did the improbable by signing a college football scholarship with Division III Centre College in Danville, Ky.
“Signing day is a life changing moment for most families as their children get scholarships to continue their educations,” said Dunwoody coach Jim Showfety. “For Steven that life changing moment was four years ago, and today is another great step forward.”
The road to recovery was not easy as Camara spent about two months in a hospital bed following surgery and the beginning of what would be three and a half years of chemo treatments.
“When I left the hospital … I could barely walk, climb a flight of stairs and could not even do one full pushup,” recalled Camara.
“But, once that time was up I began to run and work on strength training.”
Camara’s mother, Sophie Campbell, was working as a nanny to support her three sons with their family mostly in France when the diagnosis came down.
“It was out of the blue and completely changed our lives,” said Campbell.
Beginning his sophomore year, Camara began to work out with the team — while still not at top strength due to the continuing chemo.
“He was always on the go and there were times he would go for a treatment and want to go back for football practice,” said Campbell. “At times I would just have to say: ‘No, you can’t do that today.’”
The summer of Camara’s junior year he felt his strength building and, in September of 2011, he completed his chemo treatments and was clear of the cancer.
Camara, at 6-2 and 225 pounds, started all 10 games as a senior at defensive end for the Wildcats this past season, finishing as the sixth leading tackler. He also maintained a 3.3 grade point average.
“Steven is a prime example of perseverance, commitment and overcoming adversity,” said Showfety. “Look at where he’s been and what he’s done.”