Age: 2
Hometown: Regina
Condition: Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1

When Mason from Regina, SK was born in June 2021, his parents noticed that he was missing reflexes, had extremely low muscle tone and had a weak cry.

After weeks of testing, bloodwork confirmed that Mason had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1, which limits movement and makes breathing and swallowing difficult. It was an extremely daunting time for Mason’s family as they tried to navigate his future. They worked closely with medical professionals at Saskatchewan’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital to find the best treatment for Mason.

Mason’s JPCH Team chartered new territory in Canada by being only the second site in the country to pursue his specific treatment. Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Dr. Blair Seifert explained to Mason’s family that time wasn’t necessarily on their side, and it was vital for the infant to start treatment as soon as possible to halt the progression of his disease.

“From the first moment we met Dr. Seifert, not only did we meet a passionate, knowledgeable and professional doctor, we could also feel his dedication, compassion and true desire to help his patients in any way he could. While our heads were still spinning from the diagnosis and the new medical language and drug names suddenly thrust upon us, we knew we were in kind and patient hands,” Mason’s mom Lindsay said.

Having SMA means Mason can get sick very easily. At 11 months old, Mason was airlifted to JPCH’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) after contracting Rhinovirus, also known as a common cold. Lindsay says seeing your child in PICU is terrifying, but her family felt confident in the care he was receiving. While having a child with SMA is challenging at times, Mason’s family is so grateful for the ongoing treatment at JPCH and knowing they have access to this incredible resource here in Saskatchewan.  

Today, Mason is a happy toddler who loves exploring the world in his lightweight wheelchair. He’s very chatty and enjoys meeting new people and learning new things.

Many doctors and medical professionals at JPCH have made a lasting impact on Mason’s journey, but Lindsay says Dr. Seifert was always the shining light even during the darkest times. Their family nominated Dr. Seifert for a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal earlier this year to show their appreciation.

“There are numerous instances that could have turned out very differently had we not been under his care. He truly listens while also recognizing how rapidly science and treatments are developing. He works hard towards ensuring a stronger future for so many children both actively and through the policy, procedures, and precedents that will be a guiding light for years to come,” Lindsay said.

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