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This fundraiser ended on 09/27/12

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The friends and family of Mason Jeffs are uniting to raise funds to cover medical expenses.

Mason Jeffs is an intelligent, funny, and independent child. He participates in karate and swimming. I always call him our little engineer because of the things he creates and builds. He loves anything space related and wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. Mason is loved by his parents, Lori and Joel.

Mason hasn't been able to be a normal 7 year old since Christmas. This is their story:

Mason started having headaches in June of 2011. We monitored his symptoms for a few months, but they became unbearable. His pediatrician sent us to Primary Children’s to have an MRI on December 20th.

Mason was diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma, which is a benign tumor that develops near the pituitary gland. This tumor most commonly affects children 5-10 years old. Mason being 7 ½ fell right in the middle of this statistic.

This was the day our world turned upside down and nothing – I mean nothing – else mattered but getting our child better. As a parent, you’re never prepared for this type of news. I can’t even explain the devastation and helplessness I felt.

When we told Mason about his brain tumor and that he would need surgery on his head, he said, “Aw, I wish it was before Halloween so that I could be Frankenstein.” And so begins the story of our brave little man’s courage and strength for all the weeks that followed.

Mason’s tumor resection surgery was on December 28th. We were told the surgery could take anywhere from 5-10 hours. I thought, are you trying to drive a parent insane making them wait that long? But, when our neurosurgeon came out after only 4 hours, we were concerned. Mason had a vessel which had grown through his tumor – this cannot be seen on a MRI. Our renowned neurosurgeon said he hadn’t seen anything like this.

He felt it was just too risky to go any further at that point. However, they were able to remove about 3/4 of the tumor. This pesky vessel caused severe bleeding during the surgery, which caused a stroke on the left side of Mason’s brain. If you’re not familiar with strokes, the opposite side of the body is affected. This stroke caused Mason’s dominant (right) side to be weakened. I know without a shadow of a doubt that our highly skilled neurosurgeons saved Mason’s life that day and in the days to come.

After surgery, we finally got to see Mason in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). We walked into his room, and he looked a lot better than we imagined. He had many IV’s and tubes coming out of him. There were also a lot of stitches going across his head along with a bolt (yes, it is called a bolt) which measures internal brain pressure. He still looked like our little man, but just a bit like a bionic boy. And of course, Mason would have been pleased that he kind of looked like Frankenstein – geez!

About 5 days after surgery, we found out that the pooling of blood on the brain caused the blood vessels to constrict (called vasospasms). We’re told this normally only happens in young adults or adults – not seven-year-olds. I’m thinking you’ve got to be kidding me! Can one more thing go wrong, give this poor kid a break.

Around the second week of January, he was medically stable enough to move over to the Neuroscience Trauma Unit (NTU) to continue his healing and start therapy. At this point, Mason had only spoken a few words, couldn’t move his right side, hadn’t walked, and could not eat. We found ourselves wondering if we would ever see the boy we once knew. It wasn't too much longer that Mason started to improve and we felt like we had made it through the toughest part of the journey.

On March 6, Mason was discharged to go home. Everyone was very excited that the worst was over. Two weeks later came a nasty staph infection, another set back with his brain shunt, and finally the last MRI showed that the tumor is already growing back. After all the pain, suffering, sleepless nights, worry about bills, and keeping their jobs, the Jeffs are back to square one. Mason is currently in patient at Primary Childrens Hospital with no discharge date in sight. Lori and Joel are by his side always.
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