Hallmark’s Cameron Mathison recently opened up about his childhood battle with a rare degenerative bone disease. The actor and TV host posted five photos to his Instagram account that showed him as a child wearing a leg brace and using crutches to walk.
“In honor or Rare Disease Day I’m posting about the rare degenerative bone disease I had as child: Legg Calve Perthes Disease,” he wrote.
Mathison said he was diagnosed as a child with the condition, which disrupts blood flow to the hip bones. He wore the brace — which allowed his femur bones to harden — around the clock for four years.
“The treatment has come a long way since then, but still so much to learn about this rare disease,” he wrote.
“It’s a tumor that’s consistent with something called renal cell carcinoma,” he said as his co-host Debbie Matenopoulos looked on.
The cancer had not spread, and the tumor was surgically removed. In October 2021, he announced that he had been cancer-free for two years.
Dancing With the Stars
Mathison and his parents opened up about his struggle with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease before the actor’s 2009 appearance on Dancing With the Stars. In an interview on Good Morning America, they said he was diagnosed after complaining about pain in one of his legs.
“I remember my mom coming out of the doctor’s office,” Mathison said. “She’d been crying. She was really fighting back the tears. And I knew — I really knew that something wasn’t OK.”
“Initially, it was difficult because everyone looked at him,” his father said. “And it became an emotional thing for him.”
Onward and upward
When the brace finally came off, Mathison picked up a love of skiing.
“I really probably went a little bit overboard to prove to myself and to prove to other people that’s not what I was or who I was,” he said. “Skiing became a really important sort of experience to kind of get out there and have all this freedom and movement.”
He eventually turned to acting, and landed bit parts on The Drew Carey Show and JAG before being cast as Ryan Laevery on General Hospital in 1998. He also starred in Hallmark movies and the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries series Murder, She Baked, alongside Alison Sweeney.
He joined Debbie Matenopoulos as co-host of the lifestyle series Home and Family in 2018, replacing Mark Steines. Hallmark canceled the series in 2021.
Hallmark Movies and Mysteries will air five movies from the Murder, She Baked series on Saturday, March 5, starting at 11/12c.