A high achiever diagnosed in 2018 with systemic juvenile arthritis, Mason was anxious about his academic and athletic future until he shifted his focus to fighting for a cure.
At the end of that week, his doctor delivered his diagnosis – systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, an autoimmune condition that was attacking his joints. A month later, he was back in the hospital for a week filled with extreme steroid dosages and sleepless nights. He developed macrophage activation syndrome – a rare and often life-threatening condition that can affect kids with JIA.
His life was forever altered, and he suffered waves of anxiety as he fell behind in his AP courses and faced missing his entire junior year of soccer. A painful regimen of three shots a day and supplemental steroids made him miserable.
With time, Mason realized that only he could define how his condition would affect him. He decided to embrace it. He tackled his school work and played in his rivalry soccer game the day after leaving the hospital. Mason formed a team and raised $2,000 in the Walk to Cure Arthritis. Last summer, he volunteered as a counselor in training at a camp for kids with arthritis. He helped them see they were more than a condition.
While he still fights his arthritis daily, he is motivated to show others that hard work and determination can overcome just about any challenge. As the Youth Honoree for this year’s Atlanta Walk to Cure Arthritis, he’s excited to share his story and is determined to find a cure for arthritis.