The Fight Like Mason Foundation (FLMF) is donating nine “Mason Power Poles” — IV poles disguised with superhero, emoji and bright-coloured branding — to make treatment less scary and more empowering for young patients at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. The poles were donated with financial support from the Miles Hammond Endowment Fund and will be used in both the Paediatric Outpatient and Inpatient Departments and the Paediatric Oncology Clinic.
The FLMF got involved with Soldiers’ after learning about the Hammonds, a local family who recently lost their young son to cancer. The organization is a registered charity named in honour of Mason Bacon-Macri, a 4-year-old Ontario boy who died in 2016 after his own brave and hard-fought battle with cancer. His parents, Chantelle and Iain, created the Foundation to honour his short life by giving other children a chance to fight just like Mason did.
“We made Mason a promise that we would continue his fight and that’s what we’re doing today,” shared Chantelle Bacon, Mason’s mom and one of the co-founders of the Fight Like Mason Foundation. “We love when we can bring these poles into a hospital to make any child happy. Even if it’s sad when we’re honouring other kids who passed away, it’s still good to know we’re not alone in this childhood cancer world.”
Kate and Kent Hammond’s one-year-old son Miles lost his young life earlier this year after battling cancer. The family’s experience touched everyone at Soldiers’ and the community at large, resulting in a record number of donations to the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation in Miles’ honour.
“Miles was a really, really smiley baby,” said Kate Hammond, Miles’ mom. “All the nurses and doctors — he just adored everyone — and that joyful attitude will be carried on through these poles that other kids will use.”
The new poles will be used throughout the Paediatric Program at Soldiers’. “It is great to be able to launch something as wonderful and heartfelt as this,” expressed Audra Jesso, Program Manager of Paediatrics and Children’s Services at Soldiers’. “Miles left an imprint on all of our hearts. As much as you’re in the hospital, our goal is to always make sure the experience is the best it can be, under the circumstances. We now have one pole for every patient room and the nurses are excited to use them and the kids will love them. It helps us take better care of our kids and families.”
Also in his memory, the Hammond family created the Miles Hammond Endowment Fund to support ongoing paediatric needs at Soldiers’. Miles’ dad, Kent Hammond, added, “After all the great care we had at Soldiers’, it was really important for us to invest our time and energy into Soldiers’ because it’s directly affecting our community. We’re hoping on an annual basis to rally our friends and family to be able to continue to donate to the OSMH Foundation.”
Through their grief, these two families are inspiring others to make a difference in honour of Mason and Miles. To learn more about the Fight Like Mason Foundation, please visit fightlikemason.org. To make a donation to the Miles Hammond Endowment Fund in support of paediatric needs at Soldiers’, please visit osmhfoundation.ca/donate.