When Mason Lewton was 3 ½ years old his mother, Amanda, noticed something strange. When Mason would sleep in their bedroom the room always smelled like candy and he was constantly thirsty and drinking water all the time. After a trip to a local waterpark with a friend that was a nurse, it was suggested that Mason might have diabetes and that she should call the doctor. Amanda was able to get Mason seen during the last appointment of the day. At the appointment the doctor did a urine and blood test and sent Mason home. A few hours later Amanda received a call from the doctor telling them to go straight to the hospital. Mason’s blood glucose came back at 1170 and he had ketones in his urine. When they got to the hospital Mason’s parents were told he was critical and that he need to be kept in the hospital to watch for brain swelling and other diabetes complications.
After Mason’s type one diabetes diagnosis he found an ally in a close family member, his Auntie Patricia. Aunt Pat, as she was also known, was Amanda’s aunt, best friend, and like a second mom. She and Mason had a special relationship. It was her chance to get to be a grandparent. No rules, no agenda, she would do whatever she could to make sure Mason was happy and having a great time. Pat recognized how difficult a type one diagnosis was and how strong Mason had to be each day to deal with the disease, but what she admired most was that Mason never complained about his diagnosis. Mason just dealt with type one head on and never let it hold him back.
Mason’s father, Chad, says that the diagnosis was scary, but that it brought them closer together as a family; they deal with the highs and lows of diabetes together. This was also true of Aunt Pat, the family would vacation to Florida, at least twice a year, to visit. It was during those visits that Auntie Patricia and Mason would grow even closer. They’d take golf cart rides through her fly in community, and she’d let him stay up late and watch movies. It was during those visits that she learned how strong Mason was for all he had to deal with and how lucky she was for all the good she had in her life. Pat saw all the things Mason and his family dealt with daily and she knew then that she wanted to make a difference for Mason and for everyone living with type one diabetes.
Unfortunately, Mason and his family lost Auntie Patricia earlier this year. She left behind a family that adored her and a life of service and philanthropy. But, even in her final act, she left behind a gift that she hoped would impact change for Mason. With a major gift to JDRF, Aunt Pat wanted other families dealing with type one diabetes to know she sees it, sees how hard it is and how much strength it takes. Making this gift to JDRF was Aunt Pat’s way of doing everything she could to give Mason a better life, to impact change for everyone living with this disease, and doing her part to make sure their life would one day be easier.
We at JDRF are so grateful for Patricia’s gift and also to the Lewton’s for allowing us to tell Mason’s story of diagnosis…and hope!