If you want to know Cameron O'Neill-Mullin, look at the St. Paul's senior day soccer game played against in October. Despite having a clear shot at the goal, the sophomore passed the ball to a senior and then cheered when her teammate scored. (See video.)
“That’s the kind of kid she was,” said Timothy Mullin, Cameron’s father. “She didn’t need the goal. She just thought it would be a great thing to give a senior a chance to score a goal on senior day. She was very competitive but she was equally compassionate. She was a leader, but a quiet leader.”
On Friday, Cameron's Lutherville family will say goodbye at a memorial service that will no doubt show that the 16-year-old will never be forgotten. Cameron died a week ago as part of a study abroad program.
“It’s a very difficult time. Cameron was an extraordinary young lady. We knew that and I think we knew a part of how much others in the community did, but maybe not all of it,” Mullin said.
In the week following her death, a Facebook group has attracted more than 7,000 well-wishers.
“We have another extraordinary young daughter as well and we’re a strong family and we’re trying to look on the positive and really keep Cameron in our hearts and do some good in her memory,” Mullin said.
Those memories have empowered Cameron’s family during this difficult time. Her proud father said he had difficulty separating out his fondest memory of his daughter, though a cross-country trip stood out.
“For me, as a father, back in 2006, her sister and I and Cameron went on a cross-country trip,” Mullin said. “It took three weeks, but we drove ocean to ocean. We just had a remarkable time, a father and two daughters—just seeing the country and doing crazy things.
“I’m so happy now that I managed to find time to do that. It brought us together. We had wonderful experiences to share. We met my wife at the end in Disneyland. She flew out to meet us and we went to Disneyland as a family,” he continued.
Mullin described his daughter as a strong competitor, a well-rounded student, a girl who believed in community service and a world traveler.
“She lived absolutely every moment of her life to the fullest .... That’s why we’re trying to be so positive. We don’t have any regrets,” he said.
Cameron played varsity basketball as a freshman on the same team as her older sister Kylie.
“So she could play alongside her sister,” Mullin said.
Cameron was a powerful soccer player who tallied several goals as a defender for the .
“She was really tall. She didn’t mind mixing it up. It was kind of, ‘There she goes again,’” Mullin said.
Cameron also had a talent for the arts; she was a member of the a cappella group 7th Avenue.
“She was out there singing solo and with a group, without any accompaniment,” her father said.
She was fond of travel and community service, flying with the school a couple years ago to Costa Rica to help the preservation of turtles.
“She was involved in a leadership program, and she was an honors student,” Mullin said. “We traveled all over the world as a family. We went to all of her games. We saw her do all of these things. We have those memories to help us through this.”
The last time Mullin saw his daughter was when she passed through security at on her way to Australia.
“She turned around and gave me a big grin and a wave and off she went,” Mullin said. “It was a huge step ... to go off to Australia for five weeks, without knowing anybody... . It was something that she wanted to do and we were really, really proud of her.”
To honor her memory, the family is planning a memorial “celebration service” in June.
“She had an incredibly rich life, tried all sorts of things and excelled at many of them. We’re going to miss her tremendously. But we’re looking back saying if your life had to end too soon, you kind of wish you had a life like Cameron.”
A viewing will be held Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m. at . Funeral Services for Cameron O’Neill-Mullin will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations in Cameron’s memory to be made to Echo Hill Outdoor School. Donations can be made on the school’s Website here, or through DonorsChoose.org here. It has already raised $7,115.