Illness no barrier for young Mason

Mason Hingston is determined not to let his chronic illness get in the way of his dreams.

The year 9 student performed in last week's Beauty and the Beast production put on by Catholic College Bendigo. 

He entertained audiences with his interpretation of the uptight talking clock, Cogsworth, and was praised for his work.

The audience would never have guessed that his mother, Wendy Hingston, was anxiously waiting backstage each night, monitoring her son's health in case of a life-threatening seizure.

Mason,15, has been battling with seizures related to his type 1 diabetes since last year and so far doctors have been unable to identify the cause.

Ambulance calls and regular hospital trips to Melbourne have interrupted his schooling and made it a challenge to get to school production rehearsals. 

Mason is proud that he performed despite the challenges and is glad he persevered because he's discovered a new passion.

It’s important to have future goals to keep you going. - Wendy Hingston

"The production made me really realise how much I love acting," Mason said.

"I’ve been thinking about trying to get into the Bendigo Theatre Company.

"I think acting does come naturally to me."

His optimism is inspiring considering the challenges he faced. "I was the only one with an understudy in case I seized or passed out on the night of the performance."

He said reassurance from teachers, friends and his mother had helped his confidence.

"I’ve been safe and I’ve had good friends who know what to do," he said. "It did help having Mum backstage the whole time."

Ms Hingston said her son's last major seizure was five weeks ago when he started twitching and went into convulsions. He began frothing at the mouth and choking on his own vomit, Ms Hingston said, before his body went "rigid as a board". She struggled to move her nearly six-foot son into a position to protect him from choking. 

The seizure lasted four minutes before Mason started to recognise where he was. He then slept for several hours, with no memory of what happened.

Ms Hingston is proud of her son's commitment to the school production despite the challenges to his health. She said it was important people realised that a chronic illness did not have to prevent a person from achieving their goals. 

"You can still keep working through that, trying to find a solution, and life shouldn’t stop," she said.

"To have all this going on in the background as well, it’s important to have future goals to keep you going."

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