Shortly after Mason Rotering was born in 2010, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome. “This diagnosis was a surprise, but not a major hurdle. It just meant more patience and time to understand his needs,” remembers his father, Kevin.
As is sometimes the case with Down syndrome, Mason had low muscle tone that required braces to help train his muscles and make walking easier. But once Mason learned to walk, there was no stopping him.
Then when Mason was just 3 years old, “we heard the words no parent wants to hear,” recall Danielle (Danie) and Kevin. “On Dec. 22, we learned Mason had cancer. He received his first treatment the day after Christmas. I went from working overtime to ensure my children had a great Christmas, to hoping Mason would live to see his next Christmas,” Kevin says.
Over the next 26 months, Mason was hospitalized several times seeing pediatric oncology specialists at Gundersen Health System. “After thousands of pills; hundreds of port accesses, clinic visits and IVs; 30 spinal taps and too many a.m. emergency room visits to count, we are proud to say Mason is now cancer free,” says a relieved Danie.
“CMN Hospitals has been there, offering us help. We might turn it down when Mason was doing great, but other times we accepted their generosity during longer hospitals stays to ensure we could spend every day with him,” explains Kevin.
They received meal vouchers during Mason’s hospital stays and daylong clinic appointments. Gas vouchers helped with their frequent trips to Gundersen from their home in Trempealeau,—a 45-mile round trip.
“Recently, CMN Hospitals helped Mason get an iPad for his speech and learning development,” explains Danie. “The iPad helps him visually learn and hear the different sounds of words and letters. It has also helped him learn his colors, letters and how to write his name.”
Danie says, “It takes a village to raise a child and having CMN Hospitals be part of our village has been a lifesaver. That’s why we want to pay it forward and help other families.”