Childhood cancer affects so many families around the world. A family in Belle River has decided to fight back.
The Fight Like Mason Foundation is a registered charity organization founded by Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon after their son Mason Bacon-Macri passed away at the age of four in 2016.
Their mission is simple: to improve treatment, care, quality of life, and awareness of patients diagnosed with childhood rhabdomyosarcoma and other childhood cancers.
Creating Friendly Environments
One way that they’re achieving this mission is by providing pediatric units in hospitals across Ontario with Mason’s Power Poles.
“Over the years, we tried to find the pitfalls and holes we experienced during our journey with Mason. One of those things was creating a child-friendly environment in the form of an IV pole. It was never done before—no one ever thought about colouring or changing the IV pole since it was invented years ago. Our goal when we started was to find four poles at our local pediatric unit here and also to donate to cancer research,” explains Iain.
Mason’s Power Poles are used by kids in pediatric units every day.
Fighting Every Step of the Way
Since starting the foundation, Iain and Chantelle have created several programs to help kids and their families.
“Year over year, we started branching out and started to bridge all those other gaps. Now we offer over ten programs that support every step of a child’s medical journey from the second they’re diagnosed, throughout their journey, into survivorship, and unfortunately into bereavement as well,” says Iain.
Some of the programs include the Ultimate Gift Giving Program, SuperSoldiers, SupperBuddies, and the This is Me Photoshoot.
A Superhero Story
All of the work that Iain and Chantelle do is inspired by Mason and the journey that they went on together.
“When Mason was going through treatment when he was three years old, we needed a way to communicate with him that he had cancer. We came up with an analogy for him to help him understand what he was going through. So we told him that there was a bad guy—a villain—inside of him and he was going to have to become a superhero to fight off the bad guy,” explains Iain.
After using this analogy throughout his treatments and hospital visits, Iain says the community started to rally behind Mason.
“Someone designed Mason as a superhero named Maseman. They designed a symbol and drew him as a superhero, and when we started the Foundation, we realized that we had already had our symbol to represent our cause,” Iain says.
Always Giving Back
The Foundation is funded entirely by donations from the community, including proceeds from a clothing line that features the Maseman symbol and character.
“When you buy a piece of merch, we have a special message on the tag that thanks the wearer. The symbol isn’t just a logo. It’s a symbol of Mason’s strength and bravery and hope for these kids that are fighting. Every time you put this on, you’re taking a stand against childhood cancer,” he says.
Iain and Chantelle are hoping to bring back some of their signature fundraising events in 2022 so that they can continue to support childhood cancer research and the programs that support many kids and families. All of us at Belle River Wind and Pattern Canada are humbled and moved by Mason’s strength and courage. We are grateful to Iain and Chantelle for giving us the opportunity to support their great work.
To learn more about Mason and the work of the Foundation, visit their website at www.fightlikemason.org.