Mighty Mason is becoming a household name across northern Nevada. At just two-and-a-half years old, he has overcome more medical tests and procedures than many adults. "He's probably the strongest person I've met in my life. He's been through so much," says his father, Steve Hook, as he chokes back tears. Mason is recovering from a bone marrow transplant, which doctors hope will cure an extremely rare genetic disease. Basically, he was born without a certain type of receptors in his body, so he battled a build-up of chemicals that essentially attacked his GI system. Mason's parents say he is only the 10th person in the world diagnosed with this disease.
On August 22 of this year, Mason had the transplant procedure. His parents' insurance covered the cost of his surgery, but not his donor's. You can imagine their surprise when they received a $49,000 bill. Mason's Mom, Sara, admits, "We're kind of proud people, so to ask for help is not something we would normally want to do. But people just come out of the woodwork in situations like this."
People like a group of motorcycle riders, who rallied to raise money during the first ever Mighty Mason Poker Run. Their efforts put a small dent in the bill. The Dad's 24-7 Quick Mart in Sparks also organized a three-month donation drive and raised a few thousand dollars more.
"Oh, there you are! Peek-a-boo!" Mason's story captured Morgan Mathews' heart as well. The photographer read about Mason on Facebook and since she, too, is a mother of young boys, she felt compelled to contact Mason's mom and offer to help. "It really touched me because what's the difference between her and I? That could be me in her shoes." Morgan has not met the Hook family in person, but she started a photography fundraiser for them. Through the month of November, half of every session fee will be donated to the Mighty Mason Fund. "I just felt like this was my opportunity to do my part for this community." To see her work or book an appointment, log on to www.morganmathewsphoto.com.
Her efforts are merely a snapshot of the generosity Mason's family has seen. With all the love, support and financial donations coming from our community, they are able to focus more time and energy on Mason's recovery. For that, they are most grateful. "It's just nice to know that there are still good, caring, thoughtful people out there."
There is a raffle being organized to help pay down the medical bills and you can also purchase Mighty Mason T-shirts for $15. All the information is available on Mason's Facebook page. I've posted a link at KTVN Kristen Remington.