MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Through the eyes of 5-year old Mason Thurman, the center of the superhero universe is centered in a room in the Le Bonheur FedExFamilyHouse.
“What does Spider-Man do? He does this…,” Mason said, swishing around.
Mason plays with his favorite action figures like Spider-Man and Batman. They’ve teamed up with his brother’s Captain America and his sister’s Wonder Woman to save the day.
“Mason used to like Batman a lot and he’s now changed to Spider-Man,” Jessica Thurman said.
His parents, Courtney and Jessica Thurman, say Mason has the energy and the smarts of a superhero.
“Mason is now very energetic and he’s very inquisitive. He analyzes so much,” Jessica said.
Like most kids, Mason’s life started off pretty normal.
“As far as his story, we had a happy pregnancy and delivery. Everything was fine,” Jessica said.
Everything was fine until he was 5 months old and he started vomiting a lot.
“When the vomiting started to continue, we initially thought Mason might have had some type of food allergy,” Courtney said.
The Thurmans say Mason’s pediatrician first thought he was a baby who just vomits.
“It turned out to be failure to thrive because he started to lose weight, and you could see it,” Jessica said.
Courtney and Jessica found another pediatrician who recommended their son should go to straight to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Several tests indicated Mason had severe acid reflux, an underdeveloped stomach and would possibly need a G-tube inserted.
Dr. Alex Feliz is a pediatric surgeon and associate medical director of trauma services at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
“I first met Mason when then was 9 months old, and he was having trouble eating and kept throwing up, and we found he had a mass at the bottom of his stomach so it couldn’t empty well.”
“But think about some type of surgery for your baby, you immediately want to change places,” Jessica said.
Mason would have to undergo a surgery to remove a blockage from his stomach.
“He was able to keep some food down…not solid food…but two weeks later he started vomiting again.,” Courtney said.
The Thurmans remember praying a lot.
“We spent a lot of time praying and talking the family and doing research,” Courtney said.
But they never lost faith in God or Le Bonheur. They say Mason had another procedure to treat gastro-esosphageal reflux.
“That was the saving grace. That saved him. It really did,” Jessica said.
But he still had some issues.
“He was the appropriate height, but he was still so small and at 18 months he still had not walked yet,” Courtney said.
Months later, Mason eventually started to recover. The G-tube feeding helped him gain weight, and then they say they saw a miracle happen.
“He pulled that tube out, and I stood in the doorway and he was just drinking, and he turned and saw me and waved and went back drinking, and I went and got Jessica and we were in tears,” Courtney said.
Tears of joy because today Mason is living a normal life and proudly shows off his small scar like a badge of honor.
“He actually shows his scar to girls he like. That’s his opening line. He says do you want to see my scar?” Jessica said.
The Thurmans say the doctors, nurses and staff at Le Bonheur are superheroes. They are heroes who not only saved the day, but their son’s life.
“The staff at Le Bonheur were real life superheroes. They kept us,” Courtney said. “We’re not talking about capes, we’re talking about lab coats.”
“They are angels in our eyes. Thank you all because you cared enough about us; it wasn’t just a job. Thank you. I wish I had big enough arms to hug everybody,” Jessica said.
Arms and hugs big enough to embrace the giant heart over the hospital symbolizing how Le Bonheur gives children like Mason a chance to enjoy a healthier and safe life.
“Thank you Le Bonheur!” Mason said.