Mason was born on Oct. 10, 2010 (10/10/10), which happened to be his favourite number. He was a happy child, who enjoyed spending time outdoors, playing with his dog, camping, swimming, fishing and going for car rides. When Mason was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2016, his world quickly changed.
“Mason spent almost one full year on our pediatric unit receiving treatment and throughout that time he was adored by the staff and everyone who met him,” Kelsey Luedtke, Recreation Therapist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Royal University Hospital (RUH) said.
Due to his critical illness, Mason was eligible to have a wish granted by Make-A-Wish®. In November of last year, the seven-year-old from Prince Albert, Sask. wished to give a humanoid robot called MEDi® to RUH in Saskatoon and name it “Nurse Mason.” Mason wanted to be a nurse when he grew up, and felt the robot would bring children comfort during their medical procedures. Sadly, he passed away before he could give the robot to the hospital.
As a lasting tribute to the young boy and his courageous battle with cancer, Mason’s family donated “Nurse Mason” to RUH’s pediatric unit on September 5.
Nurse Mason “Nurse Mason” in action
“When Mason was receiving treatment in Alberta, he witnessed their MEDi® robot in action and immediately said, ‘Mom, my hospital needs that!’” Mason’s mother Gale said. “I know he would be so proud to see Nurse Mason being donated today, as a way to help children just like him to make their experiences a little bit better.”
The robots are designed to interact with pediatric patients by talking, playing games and even singing songs and dancing while they are having potentially painful medical procedures done, such as vaccinations and blood tests, in order to provide a positive distraction.
From left: Tammy Lucas, Adam Wong, Kelsey Leudtke, Crystal Fitch, Heather Ziola, Laura Mongovious, Jill Mohan, Gale Gariepy, Kelsey Clemment and Alana Mack
“Mason was an incredibly thoughtful child, always wanting to help others,” Tammy Lucas, Acute Care Manager of Pediatrics at RUH said. “He would think that this Medi-robot is the coolest thing, and would be very excited at how it helps kids cope with their medical challenges in a kid- friendly way. It’s an amazing gift from an amazing kid!”
Of the care Mason received while at RUH, Gale stated, “The nurses and all the staff who worked with Mason were amazing, looking after not just his medical needs but his overall health. He came to me one day and said, ‘Mom, I’m gonna be a nurse when I grow up.’ Through Nurse Mason, we have helped fulfill his dream to be a nurse, and it truly means the world to our family that his legacy will continue.”
Mason’s mom Gale showing “Nurse Mason” to a pediatric patient and his mother.