Full speed ahead
Normally this time of year, Cameron Ouellette has a one-track mind. That one track is Thunder Road in Barre. Cameron races in the flying tigers division and has won six times.
"The best feeling you can have in a race car is winning," Cameron said.
Last August, Cameron experienced chest pain, causing his family to raise the caution flag.
"They convinced me to go to express care, where they discovered the blood pressure was through the roof. So, we headed up to the emergency room up in Berlin," Cameron said.
It was his own personal diagnostic test, but the results didn't show a quick fix. At 23 years old, Cameron's kidneys stopped working.
"You feel kind of helpless," Cameron's father, Brian Oullette, said. "There's not much we can do other than do everything we can to try to find him a kidney to get him healthy and back to a 'normal' life."
While Cameron waits on the kidney donor list, he goes to dialysis three days a week, four hours a session.
"Certainly a pain, but it's something we've got to do for now and we'll do it as long as we need to do it until we get a transplant and we'll move on from there," Cameron said.
After learning about Cameron's diagnosis, the Thunder Road community showed its support. When Cameron couldn't race last summer because he was in the hospital, his fellow Tigers drivers left a couple of chairs in his pit spot. They took pictures there holding a sign wishing Cameron well.
"That was something that I wouldn't have expected them to do. So, that was something really nice," Cameron said.
"They themselves [The Ouellette family] are like the definition of Thunder Road," Thunder Road co-owner, Cris Michaud said. "They're a family team. They come there with a family. He races, but they all have fun together."
The Ouellette family plans on having fun watching Cameron race this summer. There are no plans to slow down unless, of course, a donor is found.
"That will be a break we have to take and we'll get through that, but we'll be back after that" Cameron said.
Let's just consider that a welcomed speed bump in a race that's not about being first, but about reaching a healthy finish.
If you would like to request an organ donation packet, call 1-877-467-5102. Cameron is working with the UVM Transplant team at 1-802-847-4775.