It’s a pleasant day in summer. Nine-year-old Mason Rogers hears the breeze and feels the sun on his skin. He knows his mom is close by from the sound of her voice and he feels his brother Christopher walking next to him.
The small family of three has lived in Williamsport since the boys were born. The brothers are 10 months apart, Mason being the oldest, but Christopher being the “big little brother.”
Mason learned to walk on the sidewalk of Curtin Elementary School just across the street from his house. But his childhood was far from normal.
For a few brief moments after he was born, Mason’s mother, Megan Rogers, looked into his eyes. She suspects it is the only time Mason ever saw her face. But the moment wouldn’t last.
It began with a heart murmur. The nurses grabbed Mason from her arms and took him to get an ultrasound.
Within hours they said he needed to be life flighted to Hershey Children’s Hospital for heart surgery. They spent 28 days at Hershey. Mason had two heart defects and congenital glaucoma.
At 18 months old he would have open heart surgery. To the doctors and nurses’ surprise, Mason recovered very quickly. Rogers called him her little fighter. He even pulled out his breathing tube and feeding tube.
The doctors said Mason probably wouldn’t see again, but it wasn’t until his fourth birthday that Rogers found out that he had Lenz Microphthalmia Syndrome, an extremely rare inherited disorder which is characterized by abnormal smallness of one or both eyes.
Mason’s most severe brush with death came when he was six years old and his intestines became twisted. He was rushed to Geisinger and scheduled for surgery.
The doctor told Rogers that Mason’s chances of survival were slim. It seemed as though the intestines couldn’t be saved and the most he could do was give them more time.
But Rogers knew that Mason was a fighter. The doctor took out most of his intestines, but managed to save the rest. He was her miracle and today Mason’s intestines are working fine.
The Rogers’ small family has seen their share of hardship, from Mason’s health issues, to financial troubles and the added struggles of a single-parent household. But through it all, Roger’s found strength through her faith and Mason’s persistent positive attitude.
He doesn’t let life get him down, she said. Mason can’t see, his body is frail and he can’t speak, but she said it’s rare that he doesn’t have a smile on his face.
In May, 2021, Rogers published a children’s book titled Meet Mason. While the book is about Mason, its purpose is to explore the life of a child with a disability and show other kids how to interact with him.
Children shouldn’t feel sorry for Mason, she says. But they can learn to see the world as he does and understand who he is.
Mason is full of energy and eager to explore the world. He loves walks, candy, hiking, waterfalls and spending time with his brother Christopher.
He never gives up and isn’t afraid to venture into the unknown.
The book is available on Amazon and at Otto’s Bookstore in Williamsport. Proceeds from Meet Mason will go to the start of the MasonStrong Foundation. This will be a foundation for single parents of special needs children.