On Saturday, March 7, 2020, my husband and I were upstairs getting ready to head out to dinner for a date night. Our youngest three children were home and our oldest son, Mason (he was 17), was out with friends riding his dirt bike down by the river. He loved to ride! He had been riding since he was five years old and he loved to ride wheelies and go fast. They had been gone for a few hours so I sent him a text at 4:59 p.m. asking if they were okay. His response was “yeah, I will be home soon.”
That was the last text I ever received from our sweet Mason. About 15 minutes later, one of Mason’s close friends that he’d been riding with came bursting into our house yelling that Mason was hurt, that there was a lot of blood, and that we needed to hurry. Both my husband and I went running barefoot down the street. Mason had wrecked four houses down from where we lived. I could see him laying in the street. It was just like in the movies when they describe how everything goes into slow motion. My legs just wouldn’t go fast enough.
My husband got to him first. I noticed that Mason’s helmet was off (one of his friends removed it, afraid that the strap may have been choking him). He always wore his helmet. Three neighbors were already on the scene, trying to slow the bleeding and another one of Mason’s friends was on the phone with 911. I vividly remember how much blood there was. I knelt beside Mason and held his hand and told him Daddy and I were there, to stay with us, that the ambulance was on its way and that we loved him.
I remember praying for the ambulance to hurry and soon we could hear the sirens. They came very quickly, but just before they got to us, I watched the light leave my baby’s beautiful brown eyes. I rode with Mason to the hospital in the ambulance. During the short ride there he went into cardiac arrest and flatlined. The paramedics frantically worked on him. After performing CPR for over an hour and giving him 40 units of blood, Mason was in critical but stable condition.
Surgery to repair a severed artery just below his clavicle bone had gone miraculously well. Mason remained in a coma, yet we still had hope for a couple of days. However, on Wednesday, March 11, we learned the severity of Mason’s injuries. He had suffered an anoxic brain injury (from all of the blood loss) and we were faced with the life shattering decision that no parent should ever have to make. Our options were to keep him on life support, with no quality of life, or to let him go. Neither alternative was comforting. We made the very difficult decision to let him go. On Friday, March 13, at 9:32 p.m., our sweet Mason peacefully crossed to the other side, forever breaking our hearts.
When Mason got his driver’s license, he made the choice, on his own, to be an organ donor and we strongly felt that we needed to honor this request. Through this gift of life, he was able to save six lives and benefit many others. One in particular that we have been able to connect with is a little girl that received one of Mason’s kidneys. She had been waiting for her perfect match for some time. Because of Mason, she lives, and a part of him lives on through her—along with the other lives that he was able to save just by simply circling “yes” for organ donation on his driver’s license application.
Mason Derrick Esplin was born on October 30, 2002. He was a sensitive, silly, tender-hearted boy. He loved cotton candy, Pepsi, Sponge Bob, animals, dirt biking, snowboarding, skateboarding, traveling and hanging out with friends. He touched so many lives with his beautiful light and gentle spirit. Always a friend to those that truly needed one. He was such a gift and will always be our hero! Forever loved, forever missed.
We later learned that Mason was having some trouble with his bike, either he was running out of gas or having mechanical problems and was trying to get home as soon as possible. The police report revealed that Mason was going too fast on his dirt bike when he crashed. Please slow down and follow the speed limit—whatever vehicle you choose to ride—and consider being an organ donor! We would never wish this tremendous loss on anyone, but if you could save another’s life with your own, then why not?