Child Pulled From Pond Dies

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five-year-old Mason Medlam has died of his injuries after being pulled from a small pond near Colwich Tuesday.

A rosary will be held Friday night at 7:00, and his funeral service is scheduled for Saturday at 10:30. Both will take place at the Sacred Heart Church in Colwich.

His family has set up a fund to cover medical and funeral expenses. Donations can be sent to any Cessna Credit Union branch in the name of Kenneth Medlam, Mason's father.

News of Mason's death hits close to home for other families with children or adults with autism.

"Familes with autism immediately connect because they understand exactly what this family is going through," said Connie Erbert, director of Heartspring's Autism Outreach program.

Erbert said drowning is one of the leading causes of death for both children and adults with autism, largely because they struggle to recognize the immediate dangers in their environments.

"That's a difference between a typical child and a child with autism," she said. "It's difficult for them to know that they might be in danger."

"You have to practice a lot of those things with children so they can actually better undersstand their evironment and make better choices," she said.

Investigators say Mason's death is the result of a tragic accident. Authorities say he managed to sneak out of the house and was missing for only a few minutes before officials were contacted. Mason was found after a 20 minute search, lying in a pond a few hundred yards from his home.

Of those who responded to a recent survey conducted by the National Autism Association, 92% said their child was at risk of wandering.

Mason's mother released a statement this afternoon;

First of all, I would like to say thank you to everyone who took a moment out of their day to pray for Mason and our family.

This has been a horrific week for us. Our darling son left this world on Thursday, July 29th at 7:29 am. I don't know how to describe to any of you how terrible this day has been.

Mason was the most incredible son any mother could ask for. I remember the first time he was diagnosed, I thought my world had ended. I just couldn't imagine that there would be any true happiness after I learned he was disabled. Boy, was I wrong. Mason was a shining bundle of joy. He literally made life sparkle, and now that he is gone, the world is such a dark, dark place.

Thanks so much to the media, The Wichita Eagle, KSN and especially KAKE. You took a tragic situation and managed to bring this huge city together like a small town. It amazed me how incredibly close we felt to our community because of the kind coverage and earnest hopes for our child's recovery. I can not thank the media, the people of Wichita, or the surrounding areas enough. You have given us a little of the strength we'll need to go on.

If I could have one wish, other than to hold my son again, it would be that a tragedy like this never happens again. If you have a pond or a pool or even a decorative lake on your property, do the right thing and make it secure. Please don't let any other mother have to endure the pain and agony of losing a child. It is a burden no one should have to bear.



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sheila Medlam can't hold back her grief. Every time she mentions her son's name, tears stream down her cheeks.

Five-year-old Mason Medlam remained in critical condition at Via Christi Hospital on North St. Francis Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after he was pulled from a small pond near Colwich.

Investigators say Mason, who is severely autistic, managed to sneak out of his house Tuesday morning and wander a few hundred yards to a neighbor's property where he fell into the pond. Authorities say it was a tragic accident.

"We don't want to let him go," Medlam told KAKE News.

Several family and friends gathered around Medlam for support as she struggled to speak. She said she wanted the public to know her son isn't just an autistic child, and to ask for their prayers.

"He's absolutely the most fabulous child you've ever known," she said. "He just lights up a room when you walk into it. I want that boy back."

Wednesday, doctors had stabilized Mason, though he remained unconscious and on life-support. Medlam said her son's fever had come down, his heart rate had normalized, and she sometimes felt his fingers twitch as she held them.

[Click here to follow Mason's progress and learn more about how to help his family.]

Medlam shared photos of a smiling child, proudly showing off his missing two front teeth in one picture. In another, Mason fed chickens with an older sister.

"He's the most loving kid," Medlam said.

The family moved to the small home near Colwich about two years ago, Medlam said. She thought it would be a safer place for Mason, who was always closely supervised, she said.

Medlam says whenever she leaves the hospital, she will begin a fight to require all area pools and ponds be fenced-in, if they aren't already.

Medlam also knows the family of Chase Kear, the Colwich pole vaulter who was critically injured in a track-related accident in 2008. The Kears prayed to Father Emil Kapaun, and Chase made a full recovery. The Vatican is now investigating Chase's recovery as a possible miracle.

The Medlam's now find themselves praying for a miracle, and they are asking for the public's help.

For more information on protecting autistic children from potentially dangerous situations, click here.


Below is the prayer the Medlams asked be shared:

Father Emil Kapuan, I ask intercession not only for these needs which I mention now for Mason Allen Medlam, but that I too may follow your example of service to God and my neighbor. For the gifts of courage in battle and perseverance of faith, we give you thanks, O Lord.

[Recite the Lord's Prayer]

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of the womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, our savior, Amen.

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