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Brain cancer families' iPhone app helps others

By: Sam Dick - Email
By: Sam Dick - Email

MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) - In the summer months, Teresa Mason loved spending time at the pool with her family in Morehead.

Her brother Lowell Thompson remembers, "She was the family matriarch, she could make everyone feel better."

By all accounts, the long-time paralegal lived a full life, showing her clients compassion at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, volunteering time with the local animal rescue group, and staying physically fit.

"She ate right, she exercised, she always stayed in really good shape, did Yoga and Zumba," recalls Dan Mason, her husband.

So it was a shock to the family when at the age of 55 Teresa was diagnosed with a form of incurable brain cancer.

"She was starting to forget people's names, even of us in the family at times. She had trouble remembering our names," her husband says. "Then she couldn't remember the names of objects, so she knew, this was in the speech center of her brain, the tumors."

She endured multiple brain surgeries to remove the tumors, chemotherapy, radiation, and trips to UK Medical Center, and finally to University Hospital in Cleveland. The last tumor was just too large.

"She was trying to make me feel better. She was fine. She believes in God, and knew she was going to heaven. She was just comforting me, and telling me I was going to be fine," he says.

During her final months, Teresa's family noticed she played a word search game on her iPad.

Dan says "she was doing that to try and keep some of those words in her head."

That inspired her brother Lowell, her son Wesley, and a family friend to develop an IPhone App called See Word.

"Of course it's called See Word, which is an acronym for C-word, which of course is what a lot of people call cancer, the C-word," Lowell Thompson, her brother, explains.

The See Word app is free to download and play.

"You find words, you just swap out tiles, make words, score points, it's just a points based game. It's for fun, a lot of people say it's real addicting."

Enhanced versions of See Word cost a $1.99. At least 50 percent of the profits go to a foundation set up by the Mason family to help pay for the travel expenses of brain cancer families. The logo of the Thompson-Mason Brain Cancer Foundation includes two flip flops in tribute to Teresa.

"We told her about it before she died, and she smiled," Dan says.

Teresa Mason passed away in January.

"The foundation and the game during her final stages, just really kept my sanity, it kept my mind busy," Lowell claims. Teresa's legacy with the foundation means the world to her family.

So far, the family says the app has had over 160,000 downloads in over 100 countries, and they've been contacted by brain cancer families needing help.

If they raise enough money, they'd also like to help pay for a brain cancer patient's last vacation.

If you want to know more about the foundation, go to braincancerhelp.org.


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