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Brenham boy celebrates sixth birthday one year after dog attack

Mason Von Swain pushes forward with joy
Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 18:39:53-05

BRENHAM, Texas — On Jan. 24, 2020, five-year-old Mason Von Swain’s world was changed drastically. The child was attacked by two dogs while playing at a family member’s residence in his hometown of Brenham, and since then he has needed constant medical care, just to survive.

"He’s had free flap facial reconstruction," said Casey McDaniel of Brenham, Mason's mother. "Which [that's when] they take from his thigh the muscle, the tissue, all the nerves, everything; and they basically connect the nerves that are in his face to that free flap. And that was one of the bigger surgeries. It was, like, 16 hours. He’s had multiple skin grafts, he’s had a lot of eyelid reconstruction surgeries, and he has a lot more to go. We have to get his mouth open to a certain point, and he’ll have scar revision done.”

Mason has difficulties seeing out of one eye. He can’t speak to full volume or breathe without the assistance of a tracheal tube. But Mason carries on each day now, full of vitality. At his Brenham home, which he shares with his mother and maternal grandparents, Mason is able to enjoy all kinds of activities. He loves playing video games with his friends online, and he can get up to cheeky fun with his toy Nerf guns and lightsaber. Mason's grandmother said he's learned how to cook eggs with her, and can make pancakes for breakfast.

And, despite his negative experience with dogs in early 2020, Mason still loves to run and throw a ball with his best furry friend, Louie. Mason and Louie have grown up together, and enjoy a special bond when playing under Casey's careful supervision.

"The start of the year was kind of rough, but we’ve been good," Casey stated. "His spirits are definitely up, so that just makes us happier too. So, things aren’t completely back to the way they were before this happened, but we’re getting back into our norm."

Mason's grandparents Chenella and Charles McDaniel both work to support Mason, while Casey stays home to provide constant medical care and homeschooling for Mason. Medicaid helps the family with some bills, but many surgeries and medications needed to reconstruct Mason’s face are not covered by insurance. The McDaniels are hoping to receive continued donations towards a $50,000 GoFundMe account operated by a family friend, Linda Clements, and Mason’s aunt Asianise Fierro.

As the family prepares for Mason’s sixth birthday on Monday of next week, Mason continues to exude a positive spirit and look forward to the future.

To donate towards Mason’s care, visit the following link: https://gofund.me/107bcb4f