Photography by Niki Murphy Photography
This project was not only extremely exciting, but also tailor made for a sensational kid. We built a Man Cave for Mason! Mason is a rare gem of a kid with a very rare form cancer. He is unique, loving, and has always been an old soul, wise beyond his years. He enjoys spending time with his 5 siblings (Mason is the 4th of 6 kids), his parents, and his best friend-a puppy named Mickey. Mason’s interests are vast and captivating, ranging from listening to the Beatles to exploring vintage cars to building every Star Wars Lego set he can find with his brothers and mom.
Mason was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma just three weeks after his 9th birthday in July of 2017, making him only the 49th case of this form of cancer in a child nine years of age or younger. After the diagnosis of his primary tumor and with the rarity of this form of cancer, Mason and his parents travelled to several out-of-state high volume Sarcoma centers in search of the best Sarcoma team and treatment plan to save his life. Having never been on a plane before, Mason took nine flights within the six weeks following his diagnosis. Often he and his mom were alone in hotels and hospital rooms hundreds of miles away from the rest of his family. Mason underwent a surgical lung biopsy out of state that unfortunately was unsuccessful and resulted in the hemorrhage of his lung. The following week, he endured a surgical sentinel node biopsy to further assess the possibility of metastasis. During the short time lapse between when Mason’s tumor was initially seen on MRI and while he was being staged and seeking a treatment plan, a follow up MRI showed that Mason’s tumor had increased in volume by 65%. Within days of receiving those results, he and his family traveled to Boston to meet an experienced Sarcoma team. It was determined that this team was the most qualified team with the best plan to effectively treat Mason’s cancer with the best chance at a good quality of life. Later that week, he had his fourth surgery since being diagnosed and his port was put in. Within a few hours of that surgery, he began the first round of the very strong neoadjuvent chemotherapy regimen. The side effects of chemo took him out of school, away from his friends, and often on isolation from even his siblings as they left him vulnerable to possibly life-threatening infections.
Chemotherapy took a significant toll on his fragile body. Nearly every round of chemo he underwent resulted in unplanned trips to the ER and additional hospital admissions due to serious illnesses and complications. During the time he was on chemo, Mason missed many fun events and social activities including camp, birthday parties, trick or treating on Halloween, holiday celebrations and playing on his school’s basketball team. This was disappointing, but he never let it get him down and continued to fight like a true warrior.
After several months of chemo in Atlanta, Mason and his mom returned to Boston, away from the rest of their family, for his big surgery. Boston became their home for the month of November as Mason underwent extensive tumor excision surgery which included the rebuilding of his medial knee and part of his leg to remove his tumor. After surgery, Mason was confined to an immobilizing leg brace and used a wheelchair to get around. He began extensive physical therapy and vestibular rehabilitation to regain balance and the use of his leg. Mason was determined to stand, walk, and regain the mobility he had lost. He worked hard and pushed through the pain and challenges he endured, including having a nonhealing surgical wound battling recurrent staph infections. Mason has rose above the many setbacks faced due to his unwavering determination to regain his mobility. The surgical wound took 4.5 months to heal completely after his tumor excision surgery.
After Mason completed his chemotherapy, his family adopted his new best friend and faithful companion, a Boston Terrier puppy named Mickey. Mason longed for a puppy for several years. Given the miraculous treatment he received in Boston, the city held special meaning to Mason. As a result, he thought it was quite fitting to choose a Boston Terrier. The bond between Mickey and Mason in heartwarming and unbreakable!
Although Mason’s progress has exceeded his doctors’ expectations in many ways, his future and prognosis remain uncertain. Each day is truly a blessing and he and his family celebrate every victory!
Mason’s new Man Cave will allow him and his furry friend to enjoy rest and recreation in a space uniquely their own. This will be a welcomed retreat after spending many months of living in hospital and hotel rooms far from home.
Sunshine on a Ranney Day was privileged to be able to help brighten the future for Mason! We loved to see him shine!