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A Fearless Fighter

March 1, 2011, 10:00 PM by Kelly Bartnick

A Fearless Fighter
ABERDEEN, SD - If little boys are fearless, an Aberdeen 8-year-old could be called a “super hero.”

Mason Ohman suffers from a rare ear condition. And he's had more than a few opportunities to prove he is fearless.

“I have this big Vikings finger because I'm a big Vikings fan. I went to a Vikings game and a twins game,” Mason Ohman said.

He's just like every 8-year-old boy. And it doesn't take much prompting for Mason Ohman to show a visitor around his room.

“You should have seen it when it was messy, you couldn't even see my floor,” Mason Ohman said.

But some of his most cherished items here aren't the toys in his room. They're the words of good will from some of his heroes who also happen to be big fans of his.

“This was me when I had my surgery,” Mason Ohman said. His fifth surgery to be exact. Mason Ohman is such a fan of fighters

“There's Bobby Tuttle's gloves that he gave me,” Ohman said.

Because he is a fighter too.

“Even though I'm eight, I also had eight surgeries too,” Ohman said.

“It’s called cholesteatoma. They have to go in. It's a chronic disease and they have to go in to remove it,” Cody Ohman said.

Mason's condition is caused by a birth defect that resulted in a cyst inside his ear. Cody and Meghan Ohman say doctors told them it's the worse case they've ever seen.

Photos show Mason literally growing up in a hospital bed since he was two-years-old.

“I just noticed one day he had stuff coming out of his ear again and they took an MRI and sure enough it was back,” Meghan Ohman said.

But it had been two years. So many surgeries caused another problem. A blood clot in his brain broke through into his ear. Just 13 days ago Mason was admitted for his eighth surgery.

“He's actually doing really, really well this time. The last time he missed 62 days of school and now this time you're ready to go back. So he's really bounced back from this one,” Meghan Ohman said.

“He makes it pretty easy though. He's a trooper,” Cody Ohman said.

“They cut it down and went like this and folded it all down,” Meghan Ohman said.

The Ohmans hope this surgery was the last. Doctors have now removed most of his middle ear. They expect almost a full recovery.

“The only limitation is the hearing. We adjust that with school and stuff with his ear and his teacher toward the front of the classroom,” Meghan Ohman said.

That's because Mason is completely deaf in one ear. Doctors also inserted a patch that may one day help him recover some of his hearing. The Ohmans say they'll need to monitor the condition every six weeks from now on. Doctors are already studying his rare condition.

Mason will just continue to fight through it. Unaware of how special his situation really is.

“Most of the kids my age haven't even had one surgery yet,” Mason Ohman said.

But most of those kids aren't fighters like Mason Ohman either.

Mason's medical bills last year alone were nearly $280,000. The Ohmans do have insurance to pay their bills. But they have met many families who do not. If you are moved by Mason's story, they ask you make a donation to a children's charity.

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