On January 19, 2011, Mason Dean Williams was brought into this world.! Our precious baby boy was born with, what we thought was, an innocent heart murmur. Much of Mason's first two years were spent in and out of doctor offices as well as multiple trips to the hospital. By the time he was two years old, he had been diagnosed with RSV, double pneumonia, asthma, etc. Fast forward to August 2013, while at the lake for our annual family vacation, Mason had a 103 degree temperature and became very lethargic. We left the next morning and went directly to our pediatrician's office. After 4-5 days of very high fever and no improvement, we knew something was not right. Back in the pediatrician's office, more blood work was done and showed an increased white blood cell count and very swollen lymph nodes. They immediately sent us to CHOA's outpatient unit for more thorough blood panels and additional testing. After hours of poking, x-rays, and waiting, CHOA told us to go home and wait for the results. The following morning we receive "that" phone call from our pediatrician; the tests were showing signs of leukemia or lymphoma. Our pediatrician made an appointment for us to see an oncologist and hematologist on the following Monday morning. However, she called that night and said "I have been thinking about Mason's results and I want you to take him to the emergency room now." Our doctor was concerned Mason had Kawasaki's Disease; a disease that affects the heart.
Needless to say, we were in shock, numb and filled with fear. We took Mason immediately to CHOA, he was admitted for what was the worst three days of our lives. After three days, the team of doctors and staff ruled out leukemia, lymphoma and Kawasaki's Disease and confirmed it was a very bad virus and cleared us to go home. Prior to leaving CHOA, however, another echo was performed to confirm the above results and even though it was not one of the above, Mason's cardiologist, Dr. Iannucci, came in and explained there was another issue - something they were not expecting. Once again, fear immediately consumed our bodies. Dr. Iannucci explained Mason had a congenital heart defect called "sinus venous atrial septal defect (ASD)"; this means he has two holes in his heart and the blood that usually goes through the atrium and out to the rest of the body is being pumped back into his lungs. His little heart and lungs were constantly inflamed because they were working overtime. Dr. Iannucci confirmed most holes in the heart will eventually close up on their own; however, due to the location of the defect, this would never close on it's own. We could not leave the holes due to the unknown in later years.
On December 17, 2013, we handed our beautiful baby boy over to Dr. Alsoufi to perform open heart surgery. Needless to say, no words can describe the next five hours. However, following surgery and time spent recovering, Mason was strong, he could run and play with other children and we were given a healthy, normal and wonderful little "Heart Warrior". Since his surgery six years ago, Mason has grown into an active, energetic and silly 8 year old little boy. Our families did not leave our side during this time and they were there to help us with Mason's little sister, Sydney. They provided a shoulder to cry on during some of our darkest hours/days.
As children, we believe super heros wear capes and have magical powers. As adults, we realize they often appear wearing surgical caps, scrubs or as a tiny little boy with a "super hero line" down his chest. The cardiologists at CHOA and Sibley Heart Center are heros and because of their commitment, compassion and concern for "our Mason" and so many others like him, we wanted to find a way to "give back". Therefore, on Mason's One Year Heart Anniversary, we started a "Toy Drive" to collect toys and money for the Cardiac Unit at CHOA. In 8 short days we were able to raise $2,300 that first year. The 2nd year we were able to raise over $3,500 and it is only because of your generosity and "hearts", this is possible.
It is that time of the year when we are asking, once again, for your help in providing these children, who are having to spend Christmas in the hospital and away from home and family, with donations to help the Cardiac Unit purchase items needed. Please be assured your contributions, regardless of the amount, are greatly appreciated and will be used wisely to put smiles on so many faces and provide them with a very Merry Christmas. Thank you, in advance, for your generosity and for your "heart" for these children. God bless you and yours.
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