ADAMSVILLE — Standing on his crutches, 8-year-old Cameron Taylor lets them fall to the ground as he mockingly sticks his tongue out at his Aunt Denise.
“I’m more of a daredevil than you,” Cameron said, while holding his arms up and balancing on his right leg.
Cameron has made great strides in the past month, since he had part of his left leg amputated because of an osteosarcoma (bone cancer) growth on his left fibula.
He’s still undergoing rounds of chemotherapy from Thursday through Sunday this week and next, evidenced by the injection port just below his neckline and his thinning hair, which has changed from a reddish hue to a brown.
He had his first fitting for a prosthetic leg this past week at American Orthopedics in Columbus.
“I’ll be trying it on for size and walking on it this week, then I’ll go back the week after that and get to keep it,” Cameron said.
With the exception of a pant leg rolled up and pinned and the crutches, Cameron hasn’t missed a beat playing alongside his brothers Coen, 5, and Chet, 13, and helping his aunt, Denise Taylor-Spiker, with chores around the house.
“He will do anything that is asked of him, but he will also do anything to get out of it,” Taylor-Spiker said. “But really, he has been a big help in my store, helping make jewelry, putting tags on the bags of herbs, while his brothers are at school.”
But he doesn’t get out of school work, either, because a tutor comes to the house so he can keep up on his studies.
“I like studying and doing some stuff around here,” Cameron said. “And I like goosing Aunt Neesy with my crutches.”
Taylor-Spiker just laughs, recalling a recent trip to Wal-Mart in which “every other step, he was nudging me with his crutches. I thought I was going to have bruises, people were laughing at him when he did it.”
“He likes to hit people with them when he’s walking,” added brother Chet.
“I just like to have fun,” Cameron said, with a shrug of his shoulders and a big, mischievous grin peeking out from underneath his hat.
He noted that at a recent family reunion, he got to hit the piñata with his crutches “and I was the first one to break it open.”
He also has a passion to go hunting, which he intends to do no matter how much the crutches slow him down.
“He’s done really good with the crossbow,” said family friend Shane Bender, a Pennsylvania man who has been hunting on the Spiker farm for the past several years. “I got him a stand and I load the arrows, and he’s got a great eye.”
Cameron just missed bagging a squirrel recently with his compound bow.
“I thought, all my gosh, he got it, but he just shot it in the foot and it ran off,” Bender said.
Cameron mainly has been practicing target shooting with Chet and Bender as he prepares for a hunt later this month in the Dayton area.
He wasn’t able to take a hunter safety course because of being in the hospital, but is permitted to hunt with Bender because he has a hunting license.
Taylor-Spiker said Cameron and his older brother, Chet, went to a dinner earlier this month in Guernsey County, a benefit at Deerassic Park Education Center for the Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America.
“He got to meet Mike McCabe, who is co-host of an outdoors show and they will be going hunting with him on Nov. 19,” Taylor-Spiker said.
McCabe was the guest speaker at the event. The avid bowhunter and co-host of Sportsmen of North America, which can be seen on cable and satellite on channels such as the Sportsman Channel, Pursuit Channel and In Country Television, was paralyzed from the sternum down after falling from a tree stand while filming a bear hunt in Saskatchewan in 2008.
Speaking of dinners, a community dinner and benefit auction will take place for Cameron and his family Nov. 6 at Adamsville Elementary, Taylor-Spiker said. But Cameron will miss the event because of chemotherapy treatments.
Several family and friends and a Coshocton woman, Linda Florence, were influential in putting together the event, Taylor-Spiker said.
“Linda especially. She saw the stories about Cameron in the paper and wanted to help, and she’s done other benefits for people with cancer,” Taylor-Spiker said.
But missing the dinner wasn’t on Cameron’s mind the other day.
“I just want to be out (of the hospital) Sunday so I can go Trick-or-Treat,” he said.
When Taylor-Spiker pointed out Children’s Hospital likely would pass out candy on Sunday, Cameron’s thoughts turned to candy bars.
“I bet they will have some nutty bars that are like 20 foot long,” he said. “That would be cool to get.”