Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
It is with immense, heart-wrenching sadness that we must say goodbye to Mason. On September 18, 2019, after 4-1/2 years of valiant battle, Mason passed away from complications due to Leukemia. He was 12 years old. From before he could even talk, Mason has been busy accompanying me and helping me with projects– along with his brother Maxwell as he got old enough to join us.
We’ve built lots of fun things together over the years including model railroads, robots, all sorts of electronic gizmos, fancy blinking Neopixel lights, programmed Arduinos, built CNC routers and 3D printers– pretty much anything you can think of, if it’s fun and technical, we probably did it!
Headed to MIT
Mason’s dream was to attend MIT upon graduating high school and he had the grades for it, he was a straight-A student and always on the Honor Roll even in spite of all the doctors, hospitals, clinics and chemo– everything. Even through the very worst, he took it all in stride and kept right on going. He spent hours studying math and science with his tutors, and spent much of this past summer learning Calculus.
A fun story… One day he was sitting in the hospital and received a mysterious package out of the blue. He was thrilled when he opened it up and pulled out gobs of MIT loot! T-Shirts and Buttons and Hats and books– even a photo personalized and signed by a real MIT astronaut. He hardly went anywhere afterwards without wearing one of those MIT shirts.
His very last project was putting together his “dream gaming computer” which was spec’d out especially for Mason by none other than his favorite YouTuber Linus Sebastian himself (of ‘Linus Tech Tips‘), along with a special video that Linus made just for Mason. In the video Linus talked to Mason about upcoming episodes, some new stuff they were working on, and some information about how they produced their shows. He specifically requested for Mason to keep the actual video private so we’re continuing to honor that request.
Mason had long wanted to build his own computer from scratch for the experience of doing it so the wonderful folks from the Make-A-Wish Foundation put it all together to make it happen for him. Originally the idea was for Mason to go to Canada to actually visit Linus in his studio but he was too sick to travel. So Linus made the video for him instead and Mason had a great time putting together the computer and watching the video.
Here’s a link to the Build Album for the Computer. (Viewer Discretion: Please be aware that these photos also show Mason in his last days at the hospital. He was very sick. But he very much enjoyed the experience. From a Father’s heart: Thank you to everybody who helped make his final wish come true!)
The M&M’s Working on Projects
Some Fun Videos
We’re Going to Miss You, Mason
Maxwell and I will continue to tinker, build, poke-around and experiment with fun stuff and in this way we’ll do our best to keep Mason’s memory alive and in our hearts. But it goes without saying that we’re going to miss our little guy every single day– his warmth, his humor, his youthful glee and spirit, and most of all the peals of laughter and giggles coming from behind his computer screen as he sat up gaming with his friends into the wee hours of the night!
Mason, my beautiful boy, you are already greatly missed.
The Greatest Kid Ever!
In summary, Mason was many things, a great student, a great experimenter, a great spirit and a great son! He had many aspects and tons of great potential to go very far in life. He was loved by all who knew him and he touched hearts and made friends everywhere he went. He often endured great pain and personal suffering and came out cheerful and smiling.
UPDATE: I’ve been pulling together a lot of the material that I have related to the various projects that Mason worked on and have been getting it all sorted into albums and edited into videos, as appropriate. And then I’ll start posting it here for people to see.
Bite Me Leukemia, I’m Going to MIT
I would like to end this tribute with Mason’s own words:
(Here’s the link to the whole video from the start)
Join Our “Mason’s Army” Page on Facebook
Doing more: If you would like to join us in celebrating Mason’s life, please join our “Mason’s Army” Facebook group, or view his photo album. And we would like to take a moment to urge you to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Here is the link to their donation page.