Nineteen-year-old Mason Alberts is used to living with pain.
For nearly 20 years, Alberts has lived with a medical condition known as Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) – more commonly known as brittle bone disease, a genetic disorder in which low levels of collagen in Alberts’ bones causes them to become weak and break easily.
As an active two-year-old, Alberts once rolled out of bed onto the floor of his bedroom and broke his collarbone, the same injury his mother Erica Beckstead suffered at the same age.
She has OI too.
Sitting on a leather sofa in a neatly kept apartment in Whalley, Beckstead lists off the numerous broken bones and surgeries hers son has had to endure.
“Mason has probably broken 10 bones, including having had major surgeries to both knees and elbows,” said Beckstead. “He broke his first kneecap falling down in Grade 7 and the second kneecap the same way in Grade 9. Basically he was in a wheelchair for two years.”
Slowly rubbing his hands over the long scars down the front of both knees, Alberts explains how he knows he needs to be careful. But it’s tough as a teen.
“I know I shouldn’t be doing certain things, but I do anyway.”
Alberts has a passion for music and playing the guitar, an interest that helps keep his mind in a positive space.
It wasn’t until May of this year that Beckstead found out she too had the condition. She had broken numerous bones herself as a child, but doctors were never able to pinpoint her problem.
Since May, both mother and son have been travelling to Tacoma, Wash. to take part in a new research study to help build up the collagen levels in their bones. It was there Beckstead learned what she had presumed for many years: She and Alberts have type IV OI.
After giving a presentation to the Gizeh Shriners of B.C. and Yukon, Beckstead was able to secure funding for her and Alberts to take part in the study, however other medical expenses have become extremely difficult to manage. These include specialized air casts and continuing physiotherapy.
And her goal is to purchase a scooter for Alberts, to keep him more mobile.
On Friday, June 29 from 4-11 p.m., Erica has organized a fundraising event a the Guildford Golf and Country Club to support
The event will feature five local bands, a mystery pageant including Miss B.C. and Miss World Canada contestants, along with various guest speakers. Admission is by donation, with proceeds helping to cover Alberts medical and travel expenses.