INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The legacy of ‘Mighty’ Mason Garvey is still inspiring many, including his parents. When Kevin and Heather Garvey think of what their son accomplished in his nine years on earth, they’re still amazed.
“If we can do half of what he did, we’re going to do pretty darn good,” Kevin said.
However, they say watching Mason battle a rare cancer known as embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma was tough.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Kevin said. “It’s one that no parent ever wants to face, but they’re facing it every single day.”
“Mason went through so much and we couldn’t just let that be the end of it,” Heather said.
That’s why just a few days after Mason took his last breath, they called Dr. Adam Hill, the Division Chief of Pediatric Palliative Care at Riley Hospital for Children. The doctor who turned into a friend also walked them through their darkest days and the end of Mason’s life.
“Heather and Kevin are incredible human beings,” Hill said. “They mean a lot to me personally. To take care of their son Mason while he was with us was an incredible honor.”
During this call, though, they were talking about how they could help him and his pediatric palliative care program at Riley. Kevin explained that Riley doesn’t have a formal hospice care program for kids, so palliative care is the main group that works with families that have to resort to a home treatment plan. They assist patients with pain management and make sure they have everything they need while dealing with a life-limiting illness.
Kevin described the work they do as “incredible.”
“[Making sure that] from the time a patient may have a diagnosis to potentially the last days of their life, their care is exceptional, compassionate, quality and loving care,” Dr. Hill said.
But Hill also says this team is almost completely funded by philanthropic donations.
“We want to change that,” Kevin said. “They need more money. They need more people. They need more resources.”
“Specifically their mission is about helping us to hire a nurse for our program, so that we can have a nurse come out to the homes more, to be more in touch with families and to help bridge some of that gap from when they leave the hospital to more at a home-based treatment plan.”
Now, as Kevin, Heather and Dr. Hill, bonded by their new friendship, embark on a journey to make life better for families in the same fight by starting the Mighty Mason Fund – Palliative Care.
“They have a special place in my heart,” Dr. Hill said. “We have a relationship that lives on in Mason’s story but also in their story of grief. I cherish that friendship, but I also cherish that they continue to teach me. Doing it day after day for the loving memory of their son. I don’t know of anything that’s more beautiful than that.”
When Kevin and Heather were asked how they thought Mason would feel about their effort to help others in his name, they answered with tears in their eyes.
“I hope that we’re making you proud because every single day he made us proud,” Kevin said. You can visit their website to support the Mighty Mason Fund – Palliative Care.