Making an Impact

Actor and Host Cameron Mathison on his Career, Cancer Journey, and the Lure of the Valley

For actor and host Cameron Mathison, a career in the entertainment industry wasn’t always on his radar.

In fact, Mathison—whose roles have included playing Ryan Lavery on All My Children, hosting Good Morning America, and co-hosting Home & Family—had been at college studying civil engineering when he first began booking jobs.

“I was in engineering school at McGill University [in Canada] and I was looking for a summer job. Every summer I had been working with professors, and that year, I couldn’t get a job. I think it was before my senior year. I had a buddy who suggested I go talk to a modeling agency to see if I could make a little extra money. I started modeling, and I made more in my first week modeling than I made in my last three summers working for my professors in engineering school.”

Landing Roles

Realizing he liked what he was doing, he enrolled in acting classes—and quickly began booking commercials and acting jobs.

“The next thing you know, I had an audition in New York for All My Children,” he says. “I was really, really fortunate that I was able to be such a green actor, such a new actor, but just comfortable enough on camera that it was working out okay. It was while I was literally still studying and learning the business. It came together really, really quickly.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Mathison would go on to spend 13 years on All My Children, acting in other shows along the way as well. In 2009, he added correspondent and host of Good Morning America to his resume, spending six years there.

Then, 2013 brought one of his favorite roles—one of the leads in the Hallmark Channel’s movie The Christmas Ornament.

“I’ve worked as both an actor and as a host, and I’d say that All My Children was one of my favorite activities because of the family aspect of the set,” he says. “I loved being a part of Good Morning America as a special correspondent, and I loved working at Entertainment Tonight as a correspondent and weekend host. But, my favorite place I’ve ever worked, for sure, is Hallmark Channel.”

His Favorite Job

The Christmas Ornament was his first experience with Hallmark. Today, in addition to having since starred in a number of Hallmark movies, Mathison is also the co-host of its popular show Home & Family, which debuted in 2018.

“Co-hosting Home & Family every day is my favorite job I’ve ever had in my whole career,” he shares. “It’s an incredible group of people, both on camera and behind the scenes. But, I also love that our main job—what I come to work to do each and every day—is to help people; to make them feel happier, to give them new recipes, to spread positivity, to give them new tools to deal with difficulties in life. We’re basically two hours of sunshine every day, and [my co-host] Debbie [Matenopoulos] and I are just guides through these two hours of sunshine. It really does bring meaning to my work day. It’s nice to have a job that brings meaning like that.

“I’m so lucky to be able to say at 51 years old that I have my favorite job that I’ve ever had.”

Diagnosing Cancer—Twice

Not everything in his life has been perfect and easy though. In 2019, Mathison was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. He had always been careful with his health, and since he had long-term gastrointestinal issues, was having testing done. Although those issues were unrelated to the cancer, those tests ended up leading him to the diagnosis.

“The results just didn’t make sense,” he says. “White blood cell counts, inflammation. So, I kept doing tests and trying new things, going to doctors—Western doctors, functional medical doctors. I was trying to everything to figure it out. It was very confusing. I wasn’t feeling any better, and some of the tests were just confusing people. They weren’t indicating cancer, but they were off.”

After about a year with no definitive answer, Mathison was sent for an MRI. It showed a 4.2 cm tumor on his right kidney.

Although the tumor looked consistent with renal cell carcinoma, the diagnosis couldn’t be confirmed until the tumor was removed.

Mathison went in for surgery, where the doctor removing a quarter of his right kidney.

Two-and-a-half weeks later, Mathison, who didn’t need chemo or radiation, was back at work, and today, just over a year later, he remains cancer-free.

But, cancer wasn’t done with his family. Two months after Mathison’s surgery, it once again impacted his family when his mom was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer that typically begins in the brain.

“So, even though I have my own story and my own journey, right after I was on the mend, my mom started hers,” Mathison shares. “I think cancer is something everyone can relate to—it just seems like it’s everywhere these days. If it’s not someone in your family, then it’s someone who you know, or someone who you know knows.”

Making an Impact

Hoping to make an impact, Mathison became involved with Gateway for Cancer Research, a global nonprofit with a local presence in the Valley whose mission is to fund meaningful and breakthrough clinical cancer trials worldwide (GatewayCR.org).

“I appreciate the organization and what they do,” he says. “It’s exactly in line with how I hope to transform this cancer journey of my mom, by helping to raise awareness, and to have them benefit others.

“We all just need to do what we can do to raise awareness, raise funds, and help others.”

Mathison will lend his name and time to help the organization raise its needed funds, including by participating in its 4th Annual Vino con Stelle event, which is currently planned for April 23 at Scottsdale Hangar. (To see Mathison in person, visit VinoConStelle.com to purchase tickets.)

Loving the Valley

Although he lives in Los Angeles, Mathison also loves to visit the Valley.

“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” he says. “I always, always, always try to golf when I’m there. I’m a very avid golfer and there’s some beautiful golf designs. I also love the hiking, too. I love anything outdoors; it’s just so beautiful there. The architecture there is nice, and my wife and I sometimes go on architecture tours.

“It’s the kind of place where I can kind of see my wife and I—once the kids are off in college and doing their own thing—easily start making a shift out to Arizona. It’s just so perfect.”

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