Normally on a Friday night we would have our Weekly Dispatches post but this week you will have to wait till tomorrow night. Tonight we have something much more important to cover.
On the second of June I launched a project called “Operation Cover Cameron”. You can check out the blog post here but I will also give you a quick re-cap.
Part way through his deployment on HMAS Darwin for Operation Slipper (now Operation Manitou) Able Seaman Combat System Operator Cameron Green was sent home early due to a hip complaint. He was then diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and has needed to undergo chemotherapy. As if that is not enough, he fractured his femur whilst in hospital and has to undergo surgery for that too.
On HMAS Darwin’s Facebook post about Cameron they wrote
“Being a keen Arsenal supporter he has always voiced his support for the Gunners throughout
the deployment. He reports that while watching the recent FA Cup final in hospital he was
repeatedly in trouble with the ward nurses, as his constant cries had them believing he was in
some sort of pain. As the game was televised early in the morning in Australia, he was not very
popular on the ward.”
As you can imagine the crew was devastated to hear the news and have been keen to stay in
touch and support Cameron as much as they can, albeit from a distance.
One of the things that I love about the Aussie Hero Volunteers is their willingness to participate in a special project when it is for a good cause.
What do quilters do in a crisis? We make a quilt! Simple really!
When I announced Operation Cover Cameron I was overwhelmed by the response. I asked all the volunteers to make a red and white star block using a tutorial posted on the blog. Before long all the stars came flying in from all around the country. I decided that the quilt needed to be a row wider than normal, to allow us to fit in more stars and therefore, to allow more people to contribute. Also, Cameron is not a little fellow so I figured we needed to make it nice and cozy for him. Besides, this quilt does not have to fit in to a Bx2 Box or on a ship’s rack. When he goes back to sea I will gladly make him a quilt that will fit on his rack!
Today, Maridy (wife of HMAS Darwin’s Captain) and I went to visit Cameron in hospital and deliver the quilt to him. His father, Rob, (pictured here) met us in the foyer of the hospital and took us up to Cameron’s room.
As I said I was inundated with volunteers who sent in stars.
Rita M, our English soccer quilt expert, created the star with the Arsenal Motto on it and Debbie created the fabulous Arsenal block and added Cameron’s nickname “Greeny” to the top.
At the same time I contacted HMAS Darwin and gave them the option to get involved with the quilt as well. I figured a few messages from the crew would be appreciated by Cameron and it also made the crew more a part of the project. The Captain and the Executive Officer wrote messages, then a message was written from the whole crew. Additionally, Cameron’s friends had the chance to write a message for him as well. Of course we had to include some GREEN.
Lynn had the challenge of putting the backing together and then Debbie added a little bit more applique. Finally it was up to Debbie to quilt and bind the quilt.
The large panel in the middle features the following poem, written by one of the crew.
I joined the Navy at the young age of seventeen
And saw sights that blokes from my hometown had never seen
I didn’t think I’d see anything better than the famous MCG
But then I got my posting, I was joining Darwin, a mighty FFG
We sailed on my first day, straight out on the big blue ‘O’
The sea was rough as guts throwing us to and fro
I got worried on that day as you couldn’t see any land
I’d joined from central oz I was used to golden sand
A wise chief saw me there and noticed my despair
He took me to the Ops room and sat me in a chair
I looked around at this place of marvel and great wonder
And thought to myself any foe should stand from under
He said welcome to combat son
This is the place where warfare’s done
He explained that day and night operators watched their RADAR sweep
And this let the rest of us get an all night sleep
Whilst the room was dark, consoles lit up like a XMAS tree
They showed me a plot which had land I could see
They spoke using jargon and bloody weird words
Talking of Goblins, Zombies, Bruisers and Birds
I asked with so much going on, how they get missiles in the air
And was answered, that easy mate ‘we do warfare before welfare’
I felt better that day as I looked around the room
And knew I would be with loved ones, very very soon
I felt funny then that I’d felt such grief
And remembered the words of the wise old chief
Whenever you get worried when you’re out on the big blue ‘O’
Just remember son, you’re in the safe hands of the AIO
Before you ask me – AIO stands for Action Information Organisation and don’t ask me any other questions coz I can’t (don’t know how to) answer them! LOL
And of course, when Cameron goes back to sea he is going to need his laundry bag so Rita M created this one especially for him.
Iit seems rather immodest to say it but in all honesty Cameron was pretty chuffed with his quilt. His father asked me convey just how grateful he and his family are to all those involved in the making of the quilt as well.
As for how Cameron is going and what is ahead of him….. well he starts his next two weeks of Chemotherapy on Monday. Once that is completed he will head over the St Vincent’s Hospital to have surgery to replace his damaged hip. At some point after that, once he has recovered to an appropriate stage, he is hoping that he will be transferred to Brisbane where his family live so that he can benefit from being close to home and friends….and mum’s coooking! At the moment his parents are taking it in turns to travel down and spend a week with him in Sydney.
Cameron and his family have a way to go on this journey but I know you all join me and wish him the very best for a speedy recovery as son as possible.
Till next time…………….keep spreading the word and happy stitching! JMxx