In 2011, Cameron Summerson changed careers. He switched from working an active job in a school district where he could walk 7 miles a day to becoming a full-time writer. His active work life shifted to sitting behind a computer for hours a day, forcing him to become essentially completely sedentary. He weighed around 150 pounds for most of his adult life. However, by 2013, he weighed 210 pounds.
At the end of that year, Summerson decided to get serious about losing weight. He and his wife walked into a bike shop somewhat haphazardly, and an hour later, he walked out of the store in possession of a Specialized Sirrus bike, the most luxurious two-wheeled contraption he’d ever owned.
Due to the mild winter weather in his home state of Texas, Summerson began training right away. At first, he couldn’t ride more than five miles without a break, and he lost only five pounds the first month on the bike.” Frustration crept in,” he says.” I almost gave up.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, he stumbled across an article on the “calories in, calories out” (CICO) theory, a simple but useful metric for weight loss. It dawned on him that his eating habits might be the reason he was making such slow progress in losing weight. At that point, Summerson downloaded MyFitnessPal and turned his attention to tracking his daily calorie intake. That, along with tracking the calories he consumed on the bike, was a game-changer. By the end of 2014, he had lost 45 pounds and weighed 165 pounds. However, he still wasn’t at his optimal weight in terms of his BMI index.
What happened next would change Summerson’s life even more dramatically than his weight loss success.In December 2014, his youngest son, Ax, was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a life-threatening kidney disease. Ax was only two years old at the time. Shortly after the initial diagnosis, doctors delivered the news that the condition was chronic and that Ax would need a kidney transplant. Summerson decided immediately that he would be Ax’s first donor.
While Ax was on regular dialysis until he was at a weight that qualified him for a transplant, Summerson turned his attention to getting his body in tip-top shape to prepare for a kidney donation. To say he’s motivated is an understatement.
The use of various technologies has allowed Summerson to focus all of his good intentions on organizing his efforts around fitness and continued weight loss. In addition to MyFitnessPal, he uses a number of smart tools and apps to track his mileage, record and share his progress, and guide him through his indoor cycling endeavors.
On October 9, 2017, Summerson walked into the hospital for surgery at a lean 136 pounds and is stronger than ever, both physically and mentally. He’s a man on a mission.” My son is the driving force behind my training,” he said.” Every time I want to back out, I think of him. I think of all he’s been through, the struggle he goes through every day to live a normal life. The emotional response is all I need to get through the toughest training I’ve ever had.”
While surgeons were removing Summerson’s kidney, another team was preparing Ax to receive his dad’s kidney just a mile away at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. After significant recovery time and many medication adjustments, the transplant was deemed a success.
Summerson’s commitment to improving his health began as a purely personal quest, but turned into a much more important endeavor. Fortunately, the outcome was doubly beneficial: it left him in good health and saved the life of his youngest son. Soon, he hopes they’ll be riding bikes together and enjoying their renewed health.