On September 29th from 12-6pm, Finnigan’s Wake, located at 620 North Trade Street in Winston-Salem, will host the annual St. Baldrick’s Day event, a celebration that began in 2000 at Jim Brady’s pub in Manhattan. The goal on that first day was to raise $17,000, but the event raised $104,000 instead! This incredible event has touched the lives of countless individuals across the country, including one very special boy named Mason.
“Mason is a very sensitive child; he has always sought out other children and even adults that seemed to be struggling in some way and tried to make things better,” said Mason’s mother, Kim. “I think when we went to the St Baldrick’s event to watch my co-worker shave her head, he was touched that adults and a few kids were shaving their heads and raising money to help children with cancer. He reminded me the entire next year that he wanted to participate in the event ‘next year.’ Approximately a year after Mason became involved with St. Baldrick’s, his oldest sister, Sydney, became ill. After struggling for almost two years to find a diagnosis, Mason’s second oldest sister, Caroline, developed similar symptoms to Sydney’s. They were diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos and POTS syndromes. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of disorders that affect connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels and many other organs and tissues. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is one of a group of disorders that have orthostatic intolerance (OI) as their primary symptom. OI describes a condition in which an excessively reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after an individual stands up from a lying down position.”
Even though Mason’s sisters are not affected by cancer specifically, he believes that helping others work through the illness of a family member is very important. “Mason is very much exposed to the changes of life that occur in a family when one or more children are battling illness,” observed Kim. “His life has changed by the frequent doctor visits, disability needs of his sisters and the new normal of our family. He and his third sister, Ava, have been troopers, and I think being able to relate to illness has fueled his fundraising efforts even more! He is determined!”
Each year, Mason utilizes word of mouth, social media, family connections and the generous people of Lyndhurst Gynecological who allow him to place a donation jar in their office to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Day. “Last year, we had generous donations from Piedmont Structural Company in Salisbury and many employees and business partners of Graybar Electric,” reflected Kim. “Mason has ties to all of these companies through us, his parents and his stepfather. We have also had a few business owners in the Clemmons area offer to help. We will be having a pool party fundraiser this year in early September and are currently working on getting a food truck for the event, and the band ‘Lemonjack’ will perform!”
For more information about Mason’s cause, visit www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/988116/2018. You can also learn more about the event as a whole at the St. Baldrick’s website at www.stbaldricks.org. Mason has a team that is open to anyone to join! “This event is dear to our family because children are precious and deserve the best chance of beating childhood cancers, or any illness, through constant, ongoing research,” explained Kim. “Also, from our family to other families, please cherish normalcy; you never know when illness can change your life. We are thankful and blessed with our children and are so proud of Sydney and Caroline for being fighters, as well as Ava and Mason for changing their lives to make life better for their sisters! Love each day to the fullest and love a lot, be kind…you will never regret being kind!”