Good news from Italy

Family that hosted OHS exchange student happy to get upbeat report about his cancer battle

EDOARDO CAMPUS (third from right), an exchange student from Italy who was diagnosed with cancer while attending Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, has stayed in touch with his host family and reported improvement in his health since returning to his homeland. He is shown last year with (from left) his host parents Rick and Mary Kay Heinold, friend Brent Hoffmann and parents Claudio and Vittoria Campus. Press file photo
Ozaukee Press Staff

One year after being diagnosed with cancer while an exchange student at Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Edoardo Campus is in Italy playing sports, preparing for graduation and college and following the Milwaukee Bucks as best he can.

“Sometimes I wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. to watch the Bucks play. I am so happy for the team they built this year!!!” he said in an email last week.

In March 2018, Campus was diagnosed with stage three emryonal cell carcinoma, which resulted in his right testicle being removed, but two masses remained. He subsequently underwent two bouts of chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Campus’ situation caused the Northern Ozaukee school community to come together to support the student, holding fundraisers to help cover his medical bills.

His family, who came to Wisconsin after his diagnosis and stayed with Edoardo’s host parents, Rick and Mary Kay Heinold of Belgium, were surprised by the outpouring of support.

“It was very impressive to me,” his father Claudio said last May during a fundraiser. “I don’t have any words to describe the people here.”

Since he left Wisconsin last June, Campus said his health has improved.

“My health is good now,” he said. “I just have to go to Rome every two months to make sure everything is fine.”

His health has improved enough that he has returned to playing basketball and soccer for his high school team. He also played the sports at OHS.

“I actually started practicing in October and played my ‘first’ game in November,” he wrote. “I am actually very glad I got to play so ‘early’ because I thought I would have had to wait longer before getting back in shape.”

Campus and Mary Kay Heinold said they and their families continue to stay in touch, frequently communicating via video chat and other means.

“I keep in contact with all of them,” Campus said. “If we can’t video chat, then we just chat either with Snapchat or WhatsApp. I do talk with some friends there, usually through Snapchat.”

“We usually speak on Sundays,” Heinold said. “Throughout the week we’re sending texts and messages.”

The Heinolds have three children of their own — Bridget, 22, Garrett, 19, Brent, 17 – but have hosted nine exchange students. Heinold said they have stayed close to almost all of them.

For instance, a German student recently visited them and brought friends from Germany with him.

Their first exchange student hailed from Venezuela and now attends Concordia University of Wisconsin in Mequon. They see her on an almost weekly basis, she said.

But Campus is a special case, she said.

“We’ve been close to others as well, but I think the health thing brought us closer. We spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital.

“We all pulled together and worked our way through it and were very supportive of Edoardo,” she said. “We just did what had to be done and loved him as our own child.” 

The feeling is mutual, said Campus, who expects to graduate in July and then study to be a physician.

“I could list thousands of moments that I will never forget,” he said. That includes a surprise party for his 18th birthday.

“We were going through a really hard time, but that surprise party made me feel so much better. It felt so good to have both my families and my friends there to celebrate,” he said. “I had such a wonderful time and it felt so good to have so many people around me to support me.

“I will definitely come back to Wisconsin, and I will as soon as possible. I miss my ‘second’ family.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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