The Mason Chandler Allen Memorial Foundation was founded in honor of its 13-year old namesake. Mason was an academically gifted, fun-loving and athletic 11-year old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2015 following a football injury. He endured nine months of grueling chemotherapy, surgery to replace his knee and right femur and 3-day a week physical therapy as he worked to regain his ability to walk. Throughout the difficult treatment, he never lost his smile or wonderful sense of humor. And if there was a Marvel movie on the other side of a discharge, all the better!
Mason was fun-loving, funny, smart and kind. He loved making movies on his iPhone where he was the screenwriter, director and lead actor. He enjoyed playing video games with his friends, dancing, and was in constant motion. He also wanted to play football. The highlight of his first season was a kick return he ran back for a touchdown! During pre-season practice the following summer, he suffered an injury for which the pain wasn’t getting better. That led to an x-ray and discovery of the tumor in his right femur.
While treatment was grueling, a big highlight for Mason was meeting his football hero, Darren Sproles, at the Eagles practice facility and receiving a ball signed by the coach and team. Darren thought enough of Mason that he invited him to be his guest in his family’s suite at the Eagles’ next game. He even got to hang out with the players on the sidelines prior to the game.
After a year of homebound schooling for the 6th grade, Mason had a No Mo’ Chemo Cookout surrounded by friends and family in June 2016. He enjoyed a “normal” summer with pool parties and hanging out with friends in his Marvel-themed clubhouse – a gift from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He triumphantly returned to school that September on crutches – the wheelchair and walker things of the past. He and a friend launched the Scoop, the school newspaper, and he was enjoying his return to his regular life – school and friends – and getting involved in the clubs he’d looked forward to joining as a middle schooler. Soon, even the crutches were left behind as his goal in physical therapy moved from walking to running.
After a great holiday season visiting friends and family in Maryland and Virginia, Mason suffered a recurrence of the disease. Tragically, in January 2017, that recurrence ended his school days and on March 11, 2017, Mason lost his battle against the disease, leaving family and friends bereft; the brightest light in the room, gone.
Mason was an amazing young man and the Mason Chandler Allen Memorial Foundation is his legacy — raising awareness and continuing the fight against pediatric cancers in his name, and recognizing youth who exhibit his hallmark characteristics of academic excellence and a sincere care and compassion for others who are excluded or in need.