It was a life too short, but the memory of Cameron Brown won’t be forgotten thanks to an innovative fund he established to inspire Queen’s College students, as well as the love and friendship he gave to his family and those lucky enough to have known him.

Photography by David Field

Upon his return to Melbourne in October 2015 after being diagnosed in London with brain cancer in 2014, former Bendigo man Cameron Brown, along with some friends, decided to establish an on-going innovation fund. The ‘Cameron Brown Community Innovation Fund’ was to actively honour Cameron’s memory by inspiring students from Queen’s College at Melbourne University to engage in innovative community based projects for decades to come. The inaugural project: ‘Bird Boxes for a Beautiful City’ was the initiative of Queen’s College students Oliver Tonks, Rory Kelleher, Cameron Everett and Jasper Mylius who were awarded $5000 earlier this year to bring their vision to life.
Cameron Brown was a remarkable man whose life ended too soon. At the start of 2016, at age 35, Cameron passed away from brain cancer, but he made every minute count, right to the end. After receiving the diagnosis Cameron started an online blog about his journey. That he titled his blog ‘Browny and the Brain’ shows his true quality even in the face of glioblastoma. Soldiering on no matter what life throws at you. Looking any challenge square in the eye, throwing a few jokes at it, and doing what you have to do. What Cameron achieved during his short life is remarkable, and his legacy as a dedicated student, enthusiastic sportsman, loving son, brother, husband, and honoured friend will continue, thanks to the people whose lives he touched, and the innovation fund offered through Queens College in his name.
Cameron grew up in Junortoun, attending Strathfieldsaye Primary School, Flora Hill High School, as it was then known, and Bendigo Senior Secondary College, where he was joint dux with Rachel Poustie in 1998. He was awarded a scholarship to study science at the University of Melbourne from 1999 to 2001 and was accepted into Queen’s College where he met his future wife Nikki. He also completed his MBA at the London Business School, and even earned himself a world ranking thanks to winning the Cambridge Royal Tennis Club Championships.
To list all of Cameron’s achievements here just isn’t possible. Speaking with his parents and friends, it seems that Cameron succeeded at anything he set his sights on whether it was for himself, family, friends or to help the environment.
“He was outgoing and sporty. It was mainly tennis in Bendigo, but also volleyball and basketball … cricket for a while.” His parents fondly remember he enjoyed “anything that got him out of class,” they joked. “Not that he wasn’t academic. He was competitive, even the music teacher said. He threw himself into life.”
Stephen Storer met Cameron when he became his tennis coach years ago. Over time Cameron came to work as assistant coach for Stephen and also became his lifelong friend. Stephen was already planning to travel overseas when Cameron’s parents told him that Cameron was unwell. It was 2015, Cameron was still in London when the diagnosis was given and treatment began. Stephen made sure that there was a stop-over.
“He was a lovely lad,” Stephen says. “Just a ripping young bloke. The eulogies read at his service were the most heartfelt that I’ve ever heard. They got him home just in time.”
Cameron’s friends Nick Devidas and Stephen Roux set up a Go Fund Me to help Cameron get back to Australia, but due to his condition the airlines wouldn’t let him fly. It was only when Cameron’s doctor friend from Perth, Vince Anderson, a mate from Flora Hill High School days, offered to fly to London to accompany Cameron and Nikki home that an airline agreed to transport him. The actions of his friends, along with the support of Queen’s College in establishing the innovation fund, are testimonies to the genuine character of Cameron who will be forever missed and remembered.
The fundraising for the award is ongoing and people are welcome to donate in honour of Cameron. For further information visit http://bit.ly/CamBrownFund