Charlottesville Boy Fights Rare Cancer

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

May 26, 2005

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that strikes only a few hundred babies and children each year. Doctors say at diagnosis, most patients are already consumed by the disease. We share with you the story of one courageous Charlottesville boy fighting for his life.

All around town you can see jars in just about every store requesting donations for this young man who has cancer, and is still full of life.

Take a look at five-year-old Mason Thomas. He's described as a brave boy diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma.

"Usually in babies it can actually go away on its own. It's usually found in children within the first five years of life," said Mason's mother, Kelley Kassay-Thomas.

Mason is in stage four of the cancer which affects anywhere between 500 and 600 kids under age five each year. Just two months ago, doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center discovered a two inch tumor near Mason's kidney. Now the Charlottesville boy has undergone two stints of chemotherapy. Mason's survival rate is 25%. Mason's dad says, his five-year-old who loves playing with games and race cars is strong.

"Of course he gets down when he gets his chemo, but that's expected. It has to get worse before it gets better," said Mason's father, Scott Thomas.

Some of us can only imagine what it takes to get through this, but Scott and Kelley Thomas know. Dad takes care of the home and daughter Monica while mom sits bedside taking care of Mason. They meet as a family every night.

The five-year-old who used to be in kindergarten is keen to get back to a normal life by beating his cancer. "I want to go home soon," explained Mason.

Several in the community want Mason to go home, too. They've become somewhat of a fan club by creating a website to raise money for his medical treatment, to give updates of his conditions, and to offer information on nueroblastoma. With the money raised, Scott and Kelley hope to admit their son into the Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City, where Mason's survival rate will double to 50%.

If you would like to assist Mason's family in paying for medical treatment, you can by sending donations to:

1831 Old Lynchburg Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

Or by visiting:

Mason and his family hope to move to New York City sometime in August to undergo more chemotherapy.

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