Time to lend a hand for Mason

Mason and his mum Nicole have enjoyed rare excursions together in the past ten months since Mason was diagnosed with cancer. Photo contributed

Less than a year ago Mason Hardy was like any other Bourke youngster. He loved riding his motorbike, playing with his mates, and kicking a footy around the oval. He was a typical nine-year-old who went to school and lived a carefree childhood.

On July 15 last year, Mason’s life changed. He was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer – high risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and was admitted to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

Since then, Mason has lived within the confines of a hospital ward or for brief periods of respite in Ronald MacDonald House.

At times he has difficulty walking and he uses a wheelchair when his bones can’t bear weight. He can only eat small amounts of solid food and relies on a gastric nasal tube for most nutrients. Mason is in constant, and at times unbearable, pain. His childhood is a round of injections and treatments as doctors fight to save his life.

For mum Nicole Hyland, Mason’s sickness has been heart-breaking.

Dedicated to supporting him through his illness, Nicole left her job and the family home in Bourke, with little more than a suitcase, and she now lives full time in Sydney to be by Mason’s side. The anxiety of watching her child suffer while trying to shoulder the financial burden of his treatments has taken a personal toll.

Nicole and Mason are popular members of the Bourke community, which has rallied to raise funds to help offset the enormous costs of Mason’s medical treatment. But with no guarantee of when the treatment will be completed, or what the future holds, and the financial stress is also becoming unbearable.

Family friend Tania McCosker said it was hoped Mason and Nicole would be able to come home next month, but a reaction to his treatment had been devastating, and they will have to remain in Sydney for the foreseeable future. Tania is now rallying the community to once again help one of its own.

“Mason will be coming home in a wheelchair when he does return and we are looking at what funding is available,” Tania said.

“Surely there is something available, because Nicole is coming home with nothing so we are investigating whether the NDIS may have some sort of funding support.

“We will also approach local businesses to see if they can lend a hand for things like concreting the driveway and constructing a ramp at the house so Mason can access it in his wheelchair

“It’s been such a tough time for the two of them so we are doing everything we can to help them when they eventually get back home,” Tania said.

The Bourke Amateur Swimming Club is also lending a hand, holding a 100 Club fundraiser raffle.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Nicole’s former partner, Chris Harrison, who said all Mason wanted to do was to get better – and to get back to his dog Ghost and his motorbikes.

“If anyone would like to help my little mate and his amazing mum, we’d all really appreciate it. I have attached Mason’s bank account to the Go Fund Me page and every little donation would help pay the bills back home and his ongoing living expenses while here in Sydney.

“Still having bills to pay it’s obviously been a huge struggle. While the Bourke and Nyngan community have done amazing fund raisers to help Nicole and Mason, unfortunately we all know the money runs out eventually, especially in Sydney.

“They have not been home for 10 months and being so far from home they have very little support network, just me and a few friends and family members who occasionally visit, take him places and buy small gifts, which is awesome. Ronald MacDonald Foundation has been amazing, but obviously there’s only so much they can do.

“He still has a long way to go but he’ll get there with a little help from everyone,” Chris said.

How you can help Mason and Nicole

  1. To purchase tickets in the Bourke Swimming Club 100 Club fundraiser, please contact: Tanya Jackson 0428 141 080 or Alicia Tiffen 0488 061 285 via text.

  2. Tickets can be paid for electronically via direct debit or cash purchase to Bourke Amateur Swimming Club BSB – 062510 Account – 2800 3541. Please use your surname and ticket number you wish to purchase as the reference on the transaction.

  3. To donate to the Go Fund Me page on Facebook go to https://gofund.me/d96da569