WHITMAN — When 14-year-old Mason Giove returned home from two months at Children’s Hospital for brain cancer surgery, and a subsequent stint at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, his family was aware a police escort was in the works — but the procession that wound from the Whitman Police Station to their Beaver Street home Friday, Nov. 30 was a surprise.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Mason said of the welcome.
“I think it just all came together really quick, like overnight,” his father Mark Giove said, noting that some of their friends are police officers. “I imagine everyone [looking on in town] was wondering, ‘What the heck is going on?’ It caught us off guard, too.”
Mark Giove said he was told to stop by the Police Station for an escort home. He envisioned one or two cruisers, perhaps. The escort had started in Weymouth with a motorcycle officer, but along the way, more and more began to fall in line.
The Gioves were not expecting what Mark Giove termed the “hero’s welcome” Mason received on Friday, as that escort included Whitman and Plymouth County BCI and Whitman Fire Department vehicles while dozens of community members lined the sidewalk along Whitman Park to cheer for him. Purple and yellow balloons — yellow is symbolic for the fight against pediatric cancer — were placed along the park.
“The community has been very, very supportive of us,” Mark Giove said Saturday, Dec. 1 as his four children, including twins Louden and Lawson and daughter Mattea, enjoyed a pajama morning on the living room sofa. Laura Giove is a stay-at-home mom.
It’s been amazing,” Mark Giove said. “We’ve had people cooking meals for us — they set up a meal train website and people just went online and started to pick dates.”
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, meals have been left in a cooler in front of a blue and yellow sign that reads: “Mason’s Army” on the Giove’s front steps.
Mason has been battling a “low-grade brain tumor” for almost 14 years. A freshman at WHRHS, Mason has attended Whitman public schools the whole time.
“It’s always been taken care of with chemotherapy … and kind of keep it at bay and we monitor it with MRIs and everything has always been like that for all this time,” said Mark Giove, an orthopedic surgical nurse at BID Plymouth. “Unfortunately, recently it grew a cyst in his brain stem area.”
He said the community support has made the last couple of months easier.
“We haven’t been together as a family in two months,” Mark Giove said. Mason said being in the hospital for that period was frustrating.
“For about three weeks, every day he’s been saying, ‘I want to go home,” Mark Giove said. Mason had been due to come home from Spaulding on Nov. 7, but the return of symptoms required additional surgery.
Selectmen lauded the outpouring of support in the community.
“The display this town put out for him” was overwhelming, Selectman Randy LaMattina said with a catch in his voice at Tuesday’s meeing. “I want to thank every member of this town … I want to thank the police and fire and sheriff’s departments and every town organization that brought this warrior home — and he really is a warrior.”
LaMattina said the town’s coming togther in support of Mason was equally as impressive as his courage.