The Fight Like Mason Foundation is a Registered Charity organization formed by Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon, parents of Mason Bacon-Macri. Their son, Mason was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (a form of childhood cancer) on May 4th, 2015 at the age of two. Mason fought this terrible disease head-on, like a Superhero, because he was a Superhero. On June 27th, 2016, at the age of four, Mason beat cancer. It was not in the way that everyone had hoped, but he beat it.
To improve treatment, care, quality of life and awareness of patients diagnosed with childhood rhabdomyosarcoma and other childhood cancers.
Iain and Chantelle thought they would do Mason no greater honour than to carry on his name, his way of life and legacy in the form of a foundation. They decided to turn their life-shattering tragedy of losing a child into something positive. With their experience and compassion, they pledged to make a difference and give other children a chance to fight just like Mason did.
There are so many families that are shattered, broken and suffering from something that is of no choice of their own. This disease is in no way “rare” to any family going through it. Iain, Chantelle, the Fight Like Mason Board of Directors and volunteers will continue to do their part to honour Mason and provide research funding, medical equipment, support programs and valuable resources to help improve the lives of children and families who are currently fighting just like Mason did. They will continue their work until the villain is defeated for good.
Maseman & The M
Throughout Mason’s battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, Chantelle shared Mason’s progress with her local community through social media. She and Iain found great comfort and support by letting others into their personal lives. One of these supports was Rob Chope, an illustrator from Troy, Michigan. Rob Chope had been following Mason’s story and sharing a love for superhero’s, Rob wanted to utilize his skills to provide something special for Mason.
Rob was able to capture Mason’s drive, hope, strength, courage, determination, will and soul in an artistic illustration of Maseman. Rob designed a custom M emblem and costume fitting to fight alongside Mason’s favourite heroes.
Every great superhero is not just a person. The character they embody makes them much more than that. They become a symbol. A symbol for the community that they protect. A symbol for what they represent and for everything they are.
Just like Batman’s Bat Signal represented safety, justice and hope to the citizens of Gotham. So too does our Maseman’s M. The M is not just a logo… It’s a symbol. A symbol and a pledge to all the families effected by childhood cancer. A symbol to let them know that the Fight Like Mason Foundation is taking a stand against childhood cancer. That the families and warriors are not alone in their fight. That together with the support of their community and partners, the Fight Like Mason Foundation is going to defeat this villain for good… Whatever it takes.
Our Superhero’s Story
The story of one boy who never gave up & lived life always being thumbs up!
Our story begins on May 9th 2012 at 3:55 in the morning when our perfect little boy was born, he was 9 days overdue, 8lbs 11oz and 22.5 inches long, he was everything and more. He was a very healthy baby, & had an old soul as most would say. His piercing blue eyes and his dimples made everyone instantly fall in love with him. He loved cars, classic cars, superheroes & any kind of mighty machine! He was excited to grow up to be a firefighter so that he could help others and of course, drive the cool firetruck.
His personality was one of its own. With a smile always on his face, a vocabulary of a 10 year old and an attitude like his momma! He was a goof ball-comedian and a very creative little man who cared so much for others. He was my outdoor adventurer & fort making buddy. He had endless possibilities and loved everything with a beautiful passion for life. He made life complete and made everything better, he was my world, my best friend and the love of my life. He had always been so healthy and barely had ever been sick, which makes this next part hard to believe.
On April 24 2015 at the age of 2, he could no longer pee. His belly was distended and I knew right then and there I needed to bring him into the ER. He had no fever or any other symptoms except for he had to constantly go to the bathroom, which we figured was a bladder infection, well that bladder infection was not the case. He was catheterized which was traumatizing for all of us, I’ll never forget the look in his little eyes and the feeling of his hand squeezing my arm. He was then taken for an ultrasound, where we knew something was wrong. When 3 different doctors come in to see the screen and discuss with each other what was going on, our stomachs sank. They then told us that there was a mass that looked about 10cm.. yes 10cm in his pelvis that was blocking him from being able to go to the bathroom on his own. We were instantly an impatient and our long journey began. A few days after that dreaded day we brought him in, we were being transported to another hospital that could help us more to figure out what was going on, after weeks of test after test, that included biopsies, MRI,CT, Bone scans, and every other test imaginable we found out he was diagnosed with cancer. More specific Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, stage 3 groups 3. No this wasn’t good but we were going to fight it and never look back. We were in full on kick this cancers butt mode and so was Mason. On his third birthday he started his first chemo, a very fearful day, he was in a lot of pain and wanted nothing to do with his birthday, even though we decorated his entire hospital room with balloons and banners and of course an abundance of presents. It just wasn’t a good day. We needed a way to tell Mason what was wrong and what was happening to him. We knew we couldn’t lie to our little man. So we told him he had some bad guys inside him and it was time for him to become a superhero, and that meant getting superpowers (chemo) through his port; which happen to look just like iron mans power source
We spent a total of 6 week in the hospital until we were finally discharged for 3 days to only come back for another week of chemo. Although all these new things were happening to Mason, from having a catheter constantly in him, to losing all his hair to learning how to walk again and getting use to all his medication and shots he needed, he still managed to smile and play with his toys. I’ll never forget the first thing he wanted to do when we pulled into our driveway after those long weeks in the hospital, he wanted to play in the dirt with his diggers. It was like nothing had changed. The weeks that followed were full of tears, lots of chemo and trying to figure out this new life that we were now living. Also because Mason would be constantly proving the doctors wrong, his catheter was finally out and he once again had his independence, nothing was going to stop him. These weeks were hard, explaining to everyone what was going on, and why we had to be so cautious and careful with him. He was strong but his insides were so very fragile and any little thing could harm him, but that also meant the chemo was working. It was hard for others to understand, they knew it wasn’t good and it was hard but no one will ever understand what we went through and what we had to watch our son go through and the worst of days.
There were many times where Mason, at 3 years old, knew what throwing up meant and how quickly he would run to the bathroom, get sick and come back and play. Sometimes we didn’t even know until after he came out of the bathroom that he was getting sick! He was that independent and was proud of it. Some days he didn’t make it, and I can’t count how many times my husband and I cleaned up chemo puke or caught it in our hands (even though they told us to never touch it because it was very toxic). He was no longer my tall & solid boy. He became my tall skin & bones boy. He had lost a lot of weight and was still growing tall but he was still my beautiful boy. His beautiful bald head and pale white skin may have looked cute to others but to us we knew what was going on inside of his little fragile body.
August, 3 months on treatment, he had a routine MRI scan to see if his treatment was working, and sure enough it was the best news! The tumours had shrunk 3cm already! He was responding exactly how we hoped and everyone was so happy. The next step was radiation.
Radiation was a tricky one. Mason wasn’t a candidate for surgery because he had more than one tumour, and he wouldn’t be able to get regular X-RAY radiation because of the location and his age. The radiation would stop his pelvis, hip and parts of his legs from growing and they would stay at a 3 year olds’ size while the rest of his body would grow. No. That was not an option. So my husband began researching, researching and researching all on our own to find another way of helping our son. With a second and third opinion from other hospitals we found what we needed to do next. Proton Therapy it was, this is the same treatment as radiation, although it is more precise and it would not affect his bones and growth! Of course we were sold but it would not be easy getting to where we needed to go, Houston Texa.
It took us almost 6 weeks to get approved and I took to social media to get this, much needed, ball rolling and be on our way to getting this much needed therapy (being late in his protocol though, meant we were behind schedule).
We moved our life in Ontario, Canada to Houston, Texas for 2 months, & this was the best experience we had during his entire care throughout this journey. I’ve never met nicer, caring, and amazing individuals in my life. The love they all showed for Mason was amazing and we instantly felt like we belonged there. From his nurses & doctors, the receptionist to the other patients, they all immediately took a liking to Mason. Some grown men & women would hug Mason and start to cry as they were going through the same treatment as him. We met amazing families who we will always share a bond with and will always be a big part of Masons life.
Being here made it so hard to leave and come back. Mason even loved every part of it, even though everyday for 28 days straight he would be sedated and getting his proton treatments, and then being driven to another hospital to get chemo and blood work. The days were long, but with everyone being amazing it made them go by easier and smoother than ever.
On October 20 Mason had his last proton treatment, he hit the gong and it was now time to come back home, none of us wanted to leave, but we had to.
The next 3 months were busy with constant chemo every week. With knowing that the treatment was working and his tumour continuing to shrink, things were moving along!
We were able to celebrate Christmas & new years at home!
February of 2016 is when everything took a turn for the worst when Mason was starting to have the same symptoms that he did in the beginning, We were worried, but at the same time we never thought that it was possible for his tumour to be growing while still on treatment. On February 18, 2016 we found out that indeed his tumour was nearly the same size it was in the beginning. We were heartbroken, defeated and just so upset and confused with… HOW!! He was once again dependent on a catheter and now it was time once again to find a new protocol to start him on and other options for getting this cancer under control.
They began him on a very, very aggressive chemo protocol that including 6 chemo’s being pumped in him every few weeks for 3 days straight. With these drugs came with a lot more side effects, making his body even more fragile than before. He would need many blood & platelet transfusions. He would need to be even more quarantined from the outside world because his immunity would be zero for weeks, and then once they were back up we would start this cycle again. These chemo’s were hard on Mason and affected him very differently than the ones before. My energetic boy became bedridden and barely walking or eating. These drugs were horrible and beyond scary, most adults would not be able to handle what he was getting, and most of the time they said this chemo alone could kill him. We were so scared. What was even more scary, was knowing that the only option they were giving us was surgery. The word surgery is scary for anyone but once you hear what is involved in the surgery that mason needed it will leave you wondering how is it even possible. What his surgery including was a radical cystectomy or pelvic exenteration; the removal of his bladder, colon, prostate and other lymph nodes in the area. this would leave him with an colostomy, ureterostomy and no function of his boy parts. this wasn’t an easy decision but they gave us no other option and surgery was scheduled for April 26 2016.
So once again we packed up and left our home and travelled to another well known hospital that would be performing this surgery and they told us to plan to be here for no less than 3 weeks.
The most nerve wracking trip we have taken. We explained to Mason that he was getting this surgery and that we had to get the bad guys out so that meant he would have a different way to pee and poop now. He wasn’t happy but of course we explained it the best we could to a very smart 3 year old that was very well aware of what was going to happen. But he trusted us and we told him we would make sure those bad guys are gone forever. He gave us a thumbs up.
Surgery day came. Consisting of 15 hours, 3 plasma transfusion, countless blood transfusions, a huge scare, 15 hours of his body being shut down, and one of the hardest surgeries this “dream team” of surgeons have done. The surgeons came out and told us that Mason had A LOT of surgery and it was tough on his little body. As they guided us to the recovering room, I was shaking and could feel my heart trying to escape my chest. There he was laying flat on the bed with tubes and wires all over him and him, shaking uncontrollably with his very raspy voice asking for a banana and youtube. Of course he couldn’t eat for a week after the surgery but to hear him want a banana was a beautiful thing. However looking at him I thought to myself, “what did I do to my baby?” It looked like I had destroyed him. I had to excuse myself before i tumbled to the floor. Seeing him like that was the hardest thing to see. This was an extreme surgery that is rarely done on adults let alone on children. We were very lucky to have some of the best surgeons in the world working on him.
The few days to follow Mason kept amazing us and amazing all the doctors and nurses with how well he was handling everything. From sitting up, to even walking 3 days after his surgery, and even understand his new accessories on his belly and his super cool scar that showed how strong and brave he was, our Maseman truly was a superhero. The two ostomies took us some time to get use to, and was stressful trying to find the perfect products that fit his little belly and didn’t leak.
It was now May 7, 2016 and we still thought we would be in the hospital for at least 2 more weeks, which would mean another birthday for Mason in the hospital. However, Mason had a different plan, and because he was doing so well that they allowed us to be discharged after only 10 days! He amazed everyone and amazed us with how well he was adjusting to all these new things and all he wanted was a chocolate birthday cake!
Come May 9th we were able to spend his 4th birthday at home finally! We made sure to decorate the house in his favourite colours ( green and black) with every hot wheel decoration we could find!
This was the best feeling. After a year, we could finally say he was cancer free, he began maintenance chemo and we were having the best days ever. We would get to swim in his new pool and feel like a normal kid. Until a few weeks later on my birthday May 28, he started constantly throwing up and being so very weak. He wasn’t acting like our little man and our doctors figured that he just caught a stomach bug and it would pass.
June 3rd 2017, we found out his liver had dozens of tumours… we were shattered. Every ounce of our hearts were in pieces. This was the end, we could no longer save him, he was terminal, and only had a few weeks if we were lucky. We went from the best days to the worst days. Our son was dying.
We took him home on palliative care, and it was a hard few weeks of watching him deteriorate. His organs were shutting down, he couldn’t eat or walk and by the end was so weak he could no longer speak. He was skin and bones and his face was sunken in, he no longer looked like my baby, something else had taken over his body.
On June 27th,2016 he took his last breath at 4am in the morning in my arms. I held his body for 3 hours after just wishing this was all a bad dream, I would wake up and he would still be here. My baby boy, my world and my everything was gone, at 4 years old his life ended. As we walked him out to the van and watch it leave our house, my stomach was so sick, my heart had left my body and I would no longer hear my baby’s voice, see him, or watch him grow.
He was gone and life seemed impossible now. Feeling your child’s last heartbeat and hearing his last breath is something that can never be removed from a parent’s mind.
Mason beat cancer, not in the way we hoped, but he beat it, and it’s time we wake up every day and Fight Like Mason.
Parents with a Promise
Iain and Chantelle are the husband and wife team who are dedicated to continue their son’s legacy and defeating the villain for good. As co-founders of the Fight Like Mason Foundation, they are committed to helping all children affected by childhood cancer.
Iain and Chantelle met when Chantelle answered the call for a bass player in Iain’s band. Over the year’s they have faced their fair share of obstacles and together they went through one of the hardest things imaginable for two parents. They are truly each other’s best friend.
Chantelle is a graduate of the St. Clair College’s hairstyling program and is a Licensed Hairstylist. She began her career at a local hair studio just prior to Mason’s diagnosis. After briefly returning to hairstyling, Chantelle continues to work in her profession & also. In addition to being an advocate for families of childhood cancers and a mother of three, Chantelle enjoys writing, being outdoors, fitness and music.
In 2019, Chantelle was the recipient of the prestigious St. Clair College Alumni of Distinction award for her work with the Fight Like Mason Foundation. & nominated for the premiers award.
Born almost 1 year after Mason passed away, our Miller has the same blue eyes and blonde hair that Mason had. He reminds his family so much of Mason in so many ways… But if Mason was Captain America, Miller is Daredevil. Miller’s arrival was the first time Iain and Chantelle had seen light in from their darkness and for that, they will never stop thanking him.
Iain graduated from University of Windsor in Forensic Science and Molecular Biology. He is a certified Pathologist’s Assistant at Windsor Regional Hospital. In addition to one of Mason’s SuperSoliders and a father of three, Iain enjoys sports and fitness, cars, heavy metal, and of course all things superhero.
Thumper is Mason’s Wish dog. He was hand-picked and named by Mason himself. Although Mason and Thumper did not have long together before Mason passed, Thumper provided him with great comfort and joy. Thumper is a big part of the family and brings a smile to everyone’s face, just like Mason did.
Piper Phoenix entered this world and brought with her a ray of sunshine during a month which is full of sad memories. With her big brother Mason’s dimples, she is a beautiful girl who is FULL of smiles and happiness. Her middle name Phoenix means “reborn from the ashes”, and with that she is the perfect finishing touch to the family.
President and C.E.O, Co-Founder
Chantelle, Mason’s Mom, is responsible for the strategic direction of the foundation along with the day-to-day operations. Chantelle is passionate about raising awareness for childhood cancer by sharing Mason’s story and is therefore the foundations public relations and media correspondent. She is involved in every aspect of the foundation and has dedicated her life to defeating the villain for good.
It goes without saying that Mason will forever be Chantelle’s favourite superhero, however, there is another superhero that strongly resonates with Chantelle.
Wonder Woman famously said, “I cannot stand by while innocent lives are lost” and this belief rings very true for Mason’s Mom. It is a motto that Chantelle lives daily with her work for the Fight Like Mason Foundation. Wonder Women is a power house female role model who has a gentle soul yet is a passionate fighter who never backs down from a difficult battle. She is known for when defending truth and justice. Chantelle is honoured to don her uniform and bring a positive attitude and perseverance to those who are fighting the villain.
Vice-President & Co-Founder
Iain, Mason’s Dad, has become a childhood cancer advocate and activist following Mason’s fight. With a degree in Forensic Science and Molecular Biology, Iain is the driving force behind the Fight Like Mason Foundation’s research projects. He knows that best chance at defeating the villain for good is through research and new treatment protocols. Iain works beside his wife Chantelle in program development and execution. He leads the team of Mason’s Super Soldiers.
Captain America has been Iain’s favourite superhero besides Mason of course.
Captain America is more than just a comic book hero to Iain. Cap’s entire character and essence is something has resonated and stayed with Iain his entire life. Captain America is the embodiment of all that is good, right and just. His incredibly solid core, integrity and grounded roots anchor him to stand up for what is right no matter the odds. Cap’s virtues and humility are infectious, and he has a moral compass that is never off its mark.
Iain connects with a lot of superheroes (especially the ones in the SuperSolider Program) but Captain America will always be the exemplification of what Iain can strive to be. Being able to hold the shield and wear the mantle is a complete dream come true for Iain.
Denise is a Registered Nurse and close family friend to Iain and Chantelle. (Her daughters were two of Mason’s best friends.) Having witnessed Mason’s journey first hand, she has been a part of the Fight Like Mason Foundation since its inception. Denise is the Volunteer Co-Ordinator because she inspires others with her passion and dedication.
Besides Mason, Denise’s favourite superhero is Batgirl because she is smart & Strong. Denise’s daughter Bree would dress up as batgirl and Mason would dress in one of his many costumes. They would wear their capes all over.
Krista is a paramedic with Essex-Windsor EMS and has been servicing her community and sick children for over a decade. She is a asset to our team and is a great liaison for our Mason’s SuperBuddies, having personally witnessed the benefits of the program. Krista is always spreading awareness for the foundation and is a staple at the Fight Like Mason Foundation events.
Besides Mason, Krista’s favourite superhero is Wonder Woman because she embodies love, strength and girl power.
Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Western Michigan University. He has years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and a strong background in medical research. He is dedicated to finding the best childhood cancer research projects to fund and support.
Besides Mason, Jeff’s favourite superhero is Superman because of this superhuman speed, which allows him to move, react, run, and fly extraordinarily fast.
Joe is Mason’s Pepe and does everything possible to honour his grandson, who he shared an incredible bond. As the Program Facilitator, Joe assembles and delivers Mason’s PowerPoles and SuperWheels. You can also catch Joe at a Fight Like Mason Foundation event as he is the foundation’s right-hand man. He always gives 110% in every aspect of everything he does for his community, the foundation and of course his family.
Besides Mason, Joe’s favourite superhero is Flash because it was the very first comic he received after a doctor’s appointment when he was five years old.
Ashley is a graphic designer and marketing professional who has a true passion for helping others. Her talents and insight contribute to the growth of the organization and its ability to help more children and communities we serve.
Besides Mason, Ashley’s favourite superhero is Iron Man because of his ability to find creative solutions to issues which helps other’s wellbeing.