When 23-year-old Mason McDeid was a toddler, his father Richard arrived home from work to find him crying. This wasn’t an unusual occurrence, says Richard; Mason has cerebral palsy, and, from birth, there had been far fewer moments where Mason wasn’t crying. But this day was different; on a whim, Richard began playing the album ‘Binge and Purge’ by Metallica. Within minutes, young Mason was sleeping soundly – the first time he’d ever fallen asleep without being held.
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Richard began playing Metallica whenever Mason was upset, and encountered the same response again and again. Says Richard, “At first it was only Metallica and then grew to other bands as he learned to recognize them, he instantly responded and it grew from there.”
Finding this shared love of heavy metal was a turning point for Mason and Richard’s life, which has been heavily overshadowed by Mason’s cerebral Palsy. As Richard told MyGoodPlanet.com, “In the past 23 years I have helped him through, and nursed him back from, 132 surgeries and many more near-death illnesses. It has always (been this way), since he was 4 or 5 years old. I’m a single dad, raising him and his little sister, who is off at college now.”
By his estimation, Richard and Mason have seen over 1,200 bands together. In 2017, Richard planned to throw a big, loud birthday party for Mason, but he was still weak from a recent hospital stay. The next available date that Richard was able to make a big party work was the following March, which also happened to be National Cerebral Palsy Month. Richard realized this was an opportunity, and launched his first Cerebral Palsy Awareness Heavy Metal mini-fest. Says Richard, “Mason was still not 110%, but we had 10 bands playing and so many of Mason’s friends and supporters from the metal scene came out. All those people were nothing but positive, and it was a turning point in his path to recovery.”
Richard says that he intends to have this mini-festival every year, and has also started a new company, The Best Seat in the House, which was inspired by a press photographer who told Richard that, with him and Mason always being at the very front row, they get the photography shots that no one else can. With their new company, Mason now gets to be a music correspondent, while listening to his favorite music, and meeting new people. To read more about Richard and Mason, and their inspiring life together, check out Richard’s interview with MyGoodPlanet.com.