Knocking leukemia out of the park

(Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Through love, hope and the help of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, a Citizen Airman and his family celebrated defeating cancer with a trip to the ballpark.

Mason Weedman, 6, son of Carrie and Maj. Aaron Weedman, 69th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 3. Mason completed his last chemotherapy treatment in July and is currently cancer free.

The Weedman’s are huge sports fans with a special connection to baseball and the Arizona Diamondbacks. In an effort to highlight his success story and honor his recovery the Arizona Diamondbacks paid tribute to Mason and other children battling cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month back in September at Chase Field in Phoenix.

“The whole family was on the field during the game including doctors from the hospital and an autographed framed jersey was presented to my son,” Weedman said.

A video featuring Mason and his family along with the men and women at PCH who helped the family in their struggle against leukemia was unveiled at the game. The Weedman family instantly connected with the hospital upon moving into the Phoenix area, which provided invaluable care for Mason.

Two years earlier at age 4, Mason was invited onto Chase field as part of an honorary player starting line-up in a campaign to raise money for PCH. PCH was established in 1983, and has grown to become one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country. It has a medical staff of nearly 1,000 pediatric specialists.

The family stood firmly behind the belief that cancer would not defeat them.

“This is not going to define Mason or our family,” Carrie said. “This is just a little piece of history, and it will be something that will carry him through the rest of his life. Cancer will not stop him from growing and reaching his dreams.”

Mason continues to be an active 6-year old boy involved in the sports he loves.

“I am appreciative to all the guys in the 69th FS and in the Air Force Reserve for their hard work to help our family,” Weedman said, when expressing gratitude to his fellow Airmen for the sacrifices they made during his family’s time of need. “Picking up the slack like taking an extra flight or working extra hours because I couldn’t be at work made a huge difference, whether they realized it or not.”

According to Weedman, the strength and courage he and his family possessed during their battle with cancer came from the support they received and has made them even stronger. They are ready to see what’s in store for them in the next chapter of their lives.