A 10-year-old recently hit a milestone during his cancer journey: He was able to ring the bell, marking the end of his cancer treatment.
“It’s been scary, but I’m glad I’m done,” said Mason Stehley.
Mason was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 7 years old.
The diagnosis shocked his entire family.
“We kind of knew something was up because we had taken him to the doctor the day before and the doctor had kind of told us they need to do some additional tests and stuff,” said Jodee Stehley, Mason’s mom.
“I was very upset. Jodee had texted me and told me and then I went home and told him because I was having coffee with a friend,” said Linda Randolph, Mason’s grandma.
“Yeah, it’s just something you never…expect,” said Scott Randolph, Mason’s grandpa.
“I still was very upset that something like this would happen,” said Shelby Stehley, Mason’s sister.
“I remember crying a lot the night I heard that,” said Caydence Stehley, Mason’s sister.
For the next 3-and-a-half years, Mason endured countless chemo treatments.
He was also granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He got to go to Universal Studios in Florida.
“It’s like having a birthday cake — when a child blows out a candle and makes a wish, but he can’t tell anybody what the wish is because it might not come true. Well, with Make-A-Wish, they get to tell somebody so it comes true!” said Brenda Zent Artz, a Make-A-Wish volunteer.
“Just to see the family all together and celebrate that was a huge accomplishment for him,” said Dawn Roness, a Make-A-Wish volunteer.
“I’m grateful for all the support that we have had along the way. A lot of people don’t realize how big childhood cancer is like even here just in North Dakota,” Jodee said.
Mason was on a mission during his cancer journey to do something some people never get the chance to do — ring the bell.
“I remember when somebody else had rung it, I was dedicated to doing it,” Mason said.
“I remember him seeing that bell every time we’d go into the clinic and he’d be like, ‘I can’t wait until I get to ring that.’ And it seemed like so far away,” Jodee said.
“I was definitely happy for him because when I watched him ring the bell, I don’t know how to explain it, but I was happy,” said Caydence.
Jodee says Mason is now considered cancer free.
“I’m feeling very happy and I’ve kind of forgot about it,” Mason said.
Mason says he can’t wait to get his strength back so he can play sports again. He was able to play basketball this winter, but not at the level he normally would. And he hopes to play football this fall.
Mason’s wish of going to Universal Studios wouldn’t have come true without the help of Make-A-Wish.
Two volunteers from the organization say anyone can be a part of granting a wish.
You can be a wish granter, event volunteer or a speaker for the organization.
We spoke to one volunteer who says her involvement to Make-A-Wish is personal.
“I had a son who was a Make-a-Wish child. And so, I just figured it was, we needed to give back, so that’s why I’m doing this. And, it’s the joy of seeing children have the wish granted,” Zent Artz said.
Click here to learn about different ways you can get involved.