You might know Mason King from a recent Oprah show or from the December issue of Reader's Digest.
These days the 1-year-old boy from New Orleans has more than cancer to worry about.
His mother, D'Anna Holmes, was months from graduation at Dillard University when doctors diagnosed Mason with liver cancer. A week later, Hurricane Katrina hit. "It's the hardest thing I've had to go through," his mother said.
Mason had a tracheotomy after a premature birth. "It's a small tube that he breathes through in his neck," she explained.
Saint Jude took them in and removed his tumor, but bad air quality in New Orleans has grounded them in Memphis. "I actually spoke with his doctors back in New Orleans and I was advised not to bring him back right now," Holmes said.
D'Anna's mother stayed in Louisiana to keep money coming in after the storm. She worries about her loved ones being alone here in Memphis. "There are not enough words that you can say over the phone sometimes. You need to be held."
Now that treatment is over, they've missed FEMA deadlines to get housing aid. There's a waiting list for programs that take in children with needs and Mason can't be exposed to day care germs. "Not many people know how to take care of a child with a trach, so me working and going to school right now, just kinda out of the question," his mother explained. So, her mom hopes the Mid-South will treat them like family until they can go home. "You can't give up. You have to go on," she said.
D'Anna is taking a leap of faith and trying to enroll at the U of M. Her mother went back to Louisiana Tuesday night. She's now searching for housing.