Ken Hudson Campbell, best known for playing Santa in the beloved holiday classic Home Alone, is recovering after a successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.
Following his surgery, Campbell’s daughter Michaela opened up about his distressing diagnosis and subsequent health battle.
“It’s called squamous cell carcinoma,” she explained in an interview with People. “It was a big tumor in his mouth. The last two years he’s gotten lots of biopsies done and they’ve tried to control it. And it was only this year that it just got very, very aggressive. So when he got his biopsy in October, that is when we got the diagnosis.”
Though squamous cell carcinoma is typically not life-threatening, it can grow and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. For Ken Hudson Campbell, the diagnosis was a complete shock, as his health was a top priority.
Campbell’s most recent procedure marks the second surgery the actor received to treat his cancer. The first occurred in January. After this procedure, however, Campbell lost his insurance and stopped receiving regular checks, at which point the cancer became more aggressive.
“He lost his health insurance with SAG and he had to stop going to the same doctors that he had been going to for a while about his mouth,” Michaela said. “And it discouraged him a little bit and he just didn’t really check on it.”
“I think it was really shocking for us because we thought he was taking care of it, at least I did. It was really hard for me to hear and I had a hard time emotionally,” she continued. “My dad, he was just in shock about it all.”
Ken Hudson Campbell ‘Really Got Emotional’ Over GoFundMe Response
Because his cancer went untreated for months, Ken Hudson Campbell’s most recent surgery was intense. The actor underwent a 10-hour procedure involving the removal of his lymph nodes and a large part of his jaw bone. Surgeons took part of his leg bone to reconstruct his jaw.
Thankfully, the surgery was a success. The Home Alone actor is reportedly “doing well” and “breathing by himself” without the help of a respirator.
Because the surgeons removed all the cancer during the procedure, Ken Hudson Campbell won’t require chemotherapy. Due to the nature of the surgery, however, he’ll require intensive therapy to restore his speech.
The actor’s medical bills were astronomical, covering physical and speech therapy, medical equipment, dental implants, caregivers, and more. But a GoFundMe campaign relieved much of the weight. Since its launch, the fundraiser has surpassed its $100,000 goal, with donations from Steve Carrell, Jeff Garlin, and Tim Meadows.
Ken Hudson Campbell didn’t take the support lightly. According to his daughter Michaela, he was “overwhelmed” by the enormous amount of love and support he received.
“The first day we posted it, every time he read something, he would just burst into tears. He really got emotional about the whole situation” for the first time, Michaela recalled. “It was kind of a shock to him to feel so loved.”
“It really means the world,” she said. “My family’s been struggling for a long time financially. So just having my dad’s friends come together, this is just very overwhelming and it really takes a lot of stress off of my family’s shoulders.”