Professions that require physical contact between practitioner and client have a habit of bringing people together. Some of our regular, long-time clients can affirm that if they miss an appointment and we call them to check in, it’s not because we’re miffed, it’s to check in and make sure everything is okay. Because there have been a few occasions where they haven’t been, and we worry. Mom and Pop barbershops are like that.
One day, a client was in our chair, getting a haircut before a family photo. Totally normal occurrence. But this one was different, because his son had recently been diagnosed with DIPG, a rare childhood cancer. We’ll let the family tell you in their own words what that means below, but needless to say it was an emotional day.
This kid is so Beardsgaard, cracking jokes all over the place. Hysterical little dude, this one.
So, before we even brought it to the Ward family’s attention, we began to formulate a plan to do a small something that it was within our power to do.
Gaardians, we humbly request you assemble.
On Sunday, August 7th, suit up as your favorite hero (looking at you too, adults!) and join us for a fun day for a great cause at the shop. We’ll have games, snacks, a raffle, and of course tons of kids having a blast for one of their own.
From the Ward Family
Mason Ward is 8. He is second of 3 children and has an older brother Collin (13) and younger brother Miles (5). His family’s lives changed forever on March 10th of this year when he was diagnosed with DIPG; diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. It is a tumor in the brainstem, which is the area that controls heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing.The prognosis is bleak with average life expectancy of 9 months from diagnosis. Several nerves run through this area as well, so when the tumor presses on them, it causes several different areas of dysfunction.Mason has endured 6 weeks of daily radiation, countless blood draws and IVs, surgeries, multiple MRIs. He has lost the sensation on the right side of his face and the left side of his body. He requires a wheelchair to get around. He has lost some of his hair, his speech is difficult to understand and he has some difficulty swallowing. His vision is constantly double. He requires assistance for every activity of daily living which has left his mother unable to return to her work as a nurse practitioner so that she can care for him.The torture of this disease is that it spares the cognitive portion of the brain, so Mason will eventually be aware of everything that is going on and unable to communicate or move. There has been very little change in the past 50 years in regards to treatment for this disease as it affects only 300-400 children in the US annually. Of all the donations to the American Cancer Society, only 4% goes to childhood cancers and less than 1% to DIPG. There are smaller foundations that provide research funding directly to this and other childhood cancers.Mason is a loving son and brother and a really funny and wonderful kid who enjoyed boy scouts, chess, Minecraft and running around with his friends in the neighborhood. He now enjoys going to the movies, watching America’s Got Talent and American Ninja Warrior. He likes to have meals out with his family and he loves Nancy’s stuffed pizza. He hopes to regain his ability to use his left arm and leg without numbness so he can walk again, play with his friends and play video games.Future plans for his care are limited to clinical trials (experimental treatments), none of which he qualifies for at the moment. The family is in a constant search for treatment options, some of which are in England and Germany and cost $70,000-90,000 out of pocket not including travel expenses.
Trish and Greg Ward
Please share this all over local social media, tell your friends, and make sure to make it on by. But so we know how much grub to order, please totally RSVP here.