6 year-old Mason Hernandez loved music, bubbles, and walks in the garden. His family are regular visitors to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, where the whole family could stay together for respite, and Mason received pain and symptom management.
Mason was born with Moebius syndrome, an extremely rare congenital neurological disorder, which limited the way he could communicate, but that doesn’t mean he was ever one to sit on the sidelines.
“He loves being in the middle of anything,” mom, Melanie explained while filming a video for Canuck Place. “If the other kids are playing, if the adults are just talking, he has a grin ear to ear, just being in the middle of an activity.”
Canuck Place helped Mason and his family get involved in as many activities as possible.
“Canuck Place provides the opportunity to do so many things that other kids get to do that we found challenging to integrate Mason into,” said Melanie. “The recreation therapy team has been such a huge help, allowing him do kid stuff. Seeing how much he enjoys it, is priceless”
“We didn’t know that we could take him on a Pirate Ship Adventure. That type of stuff, you’re always concerned that you’re going to inconvenience the other people on the ship,” explained dad, Reynaldo. “When it’s coordinated by Canuck Place, and there’s other kids as well, you feel much more at ease to go to these activities. He doesn’t stand out, we feel much more comfortable.”
Working with the recreation therapy team also gave the family the confidence to try similar activities on their own, including public skate sessions.
“We realized how much he loves skating,” explained Melanie. “We realized, you can do it with a child in a wheelchair. Initially we would have felt odd to try, and I think that’s something that Canuck Place really helped us with.”
Above all, the Hernandez family worked with Canuck Place to ensure that Mason was able to experience as many of the typical things other kids experience as possible.
Since filming the Let Your Light Shine video, Mason passed away in October. The Hernandez family continues to attend Canuck Place events like the recent Family Skate at Canuck Place, with their youngest son, Perry.
The Hernandez family is featured in the Let Your Light Shine project.