KINGFISHER — Every day when 10-year-old Cameron Peters got home from school, it was time for homework and a ham sandwich.
No matter how sick Darlecia Peters got, or how much pain she was in after chemotherapy treatments, she always had the strength for her son's homework and ham sandwich.
Those moments are the memories that stick with Cameron six years after his mother's death from breast cancer.
Ham sandwiches and homework. Or mom's amazing spaghetti. Or how she always called him her “sweet boy.”
“Those are the things I'll always remember,” Cameron said.
Add one more thing to the list — her constant reminder that Cameron will go to college.
Not maybe. Not hopefully. He will go to college.
When Cameron was playing youth basketball, Darlecia always pushed him to get better. The only area where she pushed harder was in academics.
Now, as a 6-foot-5 junior for the Piedmont basketball team, Cameron might have found an avenue to bring the two together.
Strong and athletic, he's a force as a scorer, rebounder and defender.
He already has a scholarship offer from South Dakota, and he is hearing from a variety of programs, such as Oklahoma, Tulsa and Oral Roberts, to Alaska, Drexel, Cornell and others.
“Her biggest thing was that Cameron go to college,” said Cameron's father, James Peters. “Now I feel like that has become my No. 1 priority, my No. 1 goal — to make sure he goes to college, whether it's on a basketball scholarship or not.”
The academic benefit is only one of the motives in Cameron's desire for a college education. He and James also want to keep Darlecia's legacy living strong as Cameron pursues his mother's most important goal for his life.
Darlecia died Jan. 2, 2007, at age 38 after a 10-month battle with breast cancer.
“At first, I couldn't believe it,” Cameron said. “It was hard, just waking up and not being able to see her.
In December 2007, Cameron's grandfather died of cancer as well.
An emotionally challenging year for anyone, especially a 10-year-old boy.
“The three things that helped me get through it all were my dad, my family and basketball,” Cameron said. “That was it.”
Basketball is still at the crux of the father-son relationship.
“I never miss a game,” James said. “Right now, he's injured and he's not playing, but I still come out and watch. I love watching him play.”
Darlecia's drive to see her son succeed still lives in Cameron, though that wasn't always the case right after her death.
“I lost it back then,” Cameron said. “I was thinking about her a lot and I kind of gave up on myself. But I realized I can't do that. I have to remember all the good things she did for me and keep going.”