When Mason was just six months-old, he started spiking a fever every couple of weeks. Otherwise, his parents observed he was growing and developing normally. But as the months passed, Mason started experiencing abdominal discomfort, joint pain, rashes and more fevers. His parents learned from doctors in their hometown at the time, Albuquerque, New Mexico, that little Mason was experiencing spikes of systemic inflammation, later diagnosed as being symptomatic of an autoinflammatory condition called Familial Mediterranean Fever (or FMF).

While living in New Mexico, Mason and his parents had to travel several hours to see the nearest medical specialist, a pediatric rheumatologist, at Colorado Children’s Hospital. They learned first-hand how difficult it can be to travel long distances to see one a few hundred specialists of this kind in the world.

Though Mason’s parents would travel any distance to ensure they could help their growing son, they were relieved to learn – after moving to Charlotte in 2017 – that Levine Children’s Hospital was home to one of the region’s only pediatric rheumatology specialty programs. After learning from FMF support groups that Dr. Vora, a pediatric rheumatologist in Levine Children’s Specialty Center, was highly-recommended for treating autoinflammatory conditions like FMF, the family’s decision to turn to Levine Children’s Hospital for Mason’s care was simple. There, Mason’s medical team and support staff go the extra mile to help the family navigate his ongoing medical treatments.

With the support of Levine Children’s Specialty Center, Mason has been able to enjoy life to the fullest, including learning to swim and playing flag football and basketball. And thanks to philanthropy and proceeds from fundraising events, including the Hopebuilders 5K, Mason can receive the very best care where he needs it most – close to home.

On October 12, 2019, a group of dedicated medical providers from the hospital’s nephrology program will walk, run, and BUILD HOPE on the Hopebuilders 5K fundraising team “Rheumatology Rockstars”.

To support the Rheumatology Rockstars, visit the team page https://fundraise.atriumhealthfoundation.org/RheumatologyRockstars.