KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — While the battle against cancer hasn’t been easy for 18-year-old Campbell Maben, he’s still finding a way to put others first. The University of Tennessee freshman used his wish through Make-A-Wish East Tennessee to grant someone else’s.
“I was shocked and excited,” Diette Crockett, president of the Friends of Seven Islands State Birding Park said. “It was just really neat that a young man who is going through that situation would want to put his wish toward helping so many other people.”
Campbell’s wish was to update Seven Islands park with a new kiosk.
“I have all of my needs met, which is a good thing obviously, and I couldn’t really think of anything that I wanted so I just thought about the things I enjoyed doing, where I could give money and this was one of the first things that came to my mind,” Campbell said.
Seven Islands park is a place Campbell spent a lot of his time in the past few years. At the age of 16, a lump was found on his left shoulder. Doctors informed him that he had a type of cancer known as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“It wasn’t something we were prepared for,” his mother, Ellie Maben said. “He was a very active 16-year-old boy, tennis player, great student and all of a sudden our life just got turned upside down,” she said.
That’s when Campbell found a way to distract himself from cancer.
“When I was in cancer treatment during the pandemic, I didn’t have a lot of friends around the house because my siblings were at school, that kind of thing. So I went in my backyard and there were birds there and I didn’t really recognize that, but then I was interested in it,” Campbell said.
“We were so happy that there was a place like this where we could go and learn more and educate him about birds,” Campbell’s father, Paul Maben said.
Now as Campbell is in full remission, he only hopes people will enjoy the new and improved park as much as he has.
“I just enjoy nature and I think other people will too hopefully. It’s just a good break from some of the crazy stuff that happens in the world,” he said.
Apart from the kiosk that was added to the park, there will also be picnic tables added to that part of the Seven Island park.