BALTIMORE - Most kids have photo albums or scrapbooks to document happy milestones in their life. Mason Douglas has a notebook, filled with every time he's been sick or hurt.
His mom, Michelle Douglas, is diligent about keeping track of 16-year-old Mason's injuries, doctor visits and medications because he has sickle cell disease. It's time consuming, but worth it to keep her son as healthy as he can be.
"I always say it takes special people to take care of special kids," she said.
Sickle cell disease affects how blood cells flow through the body. The mild symptoms are fatigue and weakness. At its worse, Mason will get horrific pains that he describes as "a hundred people stabbing me while on fire."
Mason was born with this disease and has spent countless hours in the hospital, his mom by his side each time. "It's nothing but anguish, watching your child go through pain," said Michelle. "I've sat in hospitals and watched him on morphine and not even know I was there."
Because of the disease, Mason is limited to what types of activities he can do. A couple years ago, his family found out about the Casey Cares Foundation. It provides fun activities for critically ill kids and their families. Since becoming part of the foundation, Mason and his parents have met athletes, attended galas and received special gifts in the mail.
"I believe me and my family have gotten closer since the program and doing things together," said Mason.
As a family, they'll be participating in the Casey Cares 5k run/walk at Camden Yards in August.
"It's a great opportunity for the family, just for a little while, to forget about the hospital treatments, the needle pricks and all the anguish that they're going through as a family, trying to overcome this critical illness."
It's a chance for the Douglas family to fill up the family photo album with fun memories and put away the notebook.