Health/Fitness

12-year-old nominated for man of the year

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mason Park of Raleigh is nominated as the first ever honorary youth candidate for man of the year

The award goes out to the highest fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Stepping into Mason Park's makeshift fundraising office in the garage of his North Raleigh home reveals he is anything by a typical 7th grader.

"I'm running for man of the year," said Park.

At just 12 years old, Mason is the fist ever honorary youth candidate for man of the year. He's competing with adult professionals to see who can raise the most money in 8 weeks for the leukemia and lymphoma society.

"It takes a lot of work and time and after school," said Park. "The first thing I do is my homework and then fundraising. It's kind of like a job."

A job Mason takes very seriously. He sets up his table at yard sales, school functions, pretty much anywhere there's a crowd and he can get permission. His mother says this hobby started years ago.

"Since he was about 6 years old," said Lisa Park. "He started out with the American Diabetes Association through a school walk."

Since then, Mason has done more than walk-he's run a half marathon to fundraise. But, this time, it's emotional.

"I always wanted to be a scientist when I grow up," said Mason. "To help find cures for various diseases, and my Grandfather just recently passed away from melanoma.

He was also a biochemist, so, I wanted to be like him when I grew up," said Mason tearfully.

Before he passed away, Mason promised his 'Papa' about his ambitious goal to find a cure for cancer. And, at only 12, he's well on his way to keeping that promise .

"He's already man of the year in my eyes for all that he's done at only 12," said Lisa Park. "I'll be proud of myself regardless," said Mason. But, hopefully, I'll be able to raise enough money to make a good impression so that they'll invite me back next year so that I can try to even double my funds."

Mason has until June 4th to reach his goal of raising 10 thousand dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He finds out the next day if he walks away with the title of man of the year-at only 12 years old.

For more information on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man/Woman of the Year Fundraiser click here.

For more on Mason Park click here

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