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In January 2014, two-year-old Mason began having trouble breathing, losing his appetite, and always wanting to lie down instead of playing with his brother. He was given a couple of incorrect diagnoses before his family brought him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on February 10. After bloodwork and many scans, the family finally had answers: a large mass was found on Mason’s liver and his parents heard the word “cancer” for the first time.

Mason underwent a biopsy that week and began a six-month course of chemotherapy to treat the Hepatoblastoma. After a couple of months, the tumor had shrunk enough to permit a resection surgery. Mason had his final dose of chemo in July 2014 and his port was removed in August.

Mason’s treatment was very aggressive and destroyed his little body. His counts were always a struggle and he required a feeding tube most of the time. With the chemotherapy weakening him, Mason didn’t walk for a long time and needed physical therapy to get back up on his feet. He went through a rollercoaster of emotions and struggled being away from his brother while living at the hospital off and on for six months.

Only one month after finishing treatment, Mason’s parents were told that one of his chemotherapy drugs had caused hearing loss and that he would need hearing aids. Chemo also damaged Mason’s baby teeth, leading to nine being removed. Mason required speech therapy for about six months and went through preschool twice in order to catch up after becoming delayed during treatment. More than five years after treatment, Mason continues to have dental issues. A full scan of his mouth revealed that two of his adult teeth are the size of baby teeth, and two more are missing altogether.

Even with all he has been through, Mason is an amazing, strong child whose personality shines. He is silly, funny, smart, kind, and loved by so many.

Every child who has been diagnosed with childhood cancer inspires us to Rally On to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Please join us in the fight against childhood cancer by making a donation or setting up your own Rally fundraiser today.

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