Where are they now? How blood donors helped Mason overcome cancer
When people meet Mason, they see a friend, heading out for a bike ride; an older brother showing his siblings the ropes; a devoted student, with near perfect attendance.
“If I meet someone and I tell them what happened to him, they are absolutely shocked,” Kirsty, Mason’s mum tells us.
When he was a baby, Mason had cancer.
It was a rhabdoid tumour — a rare and aggressive cancer that affects around one child per year.
Even though it was almost ten years ago, Kirsty remembers it well. In August that year (on Kirsty’s birthday, actually), Mason had the tumour, his kidney and some lymph nodes removed. Five days later, he started six days of radiation and 30 weeks of chemotherapy. Then more tests. And more chemo.
“It was just a terrible, horrible thing that everyone had to go through.”
“When you do cancer treatments, your everything drops. He wouldn’t have been able to get his next lot of chemo if he didn’t get his numbers up.”
Chemotherapy works by attacking cells that divide quickly, like cancer cells. But, it can affect healthy cells as well. Because these cells are healthy, they can recover — but not right away. That’s where donated blood came in. Mason could have waited for his body to heal itself and for his healthy cells to replenish, but it would’ve meant waiting longer between treatments. With a cancer this aggressive, that would be a big risk.
So, Mason received more than 20 blood products to get his treatments done quickly. Even with the donated blood, it would be over a year before he finished his treatments and was on the road to being a normal kid again.
“Cancer is not something that ever just goes away. It’s always in the back of your mind constantly.”
We first met Mason and Kirsty back in 2015, just four months after Mason finished his treatment. Back then, Mason was smaller than the other kids and Kirsty was still nervous about the future.
Now? Mason’s fully caught up to the other kids — but Kirsty’s still nervous about the future.
In fact, they still need to get check-ups at the hospital, just to make sure everything’s still ok.
Blood donations don’t just affect someone for a day. Or a week. Or even a few years.
When someone receives blood products, it changes the rest of their life.
Book a blood donation today to change a life like Mason’s (or Kirsty’s).
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