Mason will turn 9-years-old in October; it’s a milestone he looks forward to celebrating with family. Mason didn’t really get to enjoy his 5th birthday party because he didn’t feel good. A visit to the pediatrician the next day led to an immediate referral to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Mason’s parents drove from the family home in Thayer, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee, not knowing what to expect.
“We didn’t have insurance. We had no money. They took us right in. They never asked us for a dime,” said Matt Simmons, Mason’s father. “They make it so you have to worry about absolutely nothing but concentrating on your sick child.”
Doctors diagnosed Mason with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The family knew Mason needed extensive care. And Matt said they got that at St. Jude.
“When the doctors would come in, they would sincerely sit down and talk to you even be in there for 20 minutes if they needed to talk to you about everything,” Matt Simmons said.
Matt said he needed that because it’s not easy watching your 5-year-old son undergo chemotherapy and other treatment for two years.
“It was pretty bad. He got sick. He lost his hair. He lost weight. He wasn’t able to eat for two or three weeks,” he said. “He’s tougher in ways that I couldn’t even imagine. He’s matured beyond his age, probably beyond my age.”
With all of that behind him, Mason now enjoys fishing and hunting. He'll receive follow-up care until he's 18 years of age. Thousands of children get the same level of care.
Anyone can help St. Jude provide that care by buying a ticket for a chance to win the St. Jude Dream Home, built by Payne Family Homes. This annual dream home giveaway supports that effort. August 14 is the deadline to reserve your tickets if you want a chance to win a Buick Encore. The winning ticket will be drawn September 7.
Dream Home tickets: dreamhome.org or call 1-800-667-3394
Virtual house tour: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=xnjlhl5pqm9&mls=1
St. Jude Hospital: https://www.stjude.org/