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West Valley City Journal

Hunter High student named Absolutely Incredible Kid

Aug 07, 2022 08:53PM ● By Liz Craker

By Liz Craker | [email protected]

Hunter High School senior Maeghan Mason was announced the 2022 Absolutely Incredible Kid by Granite School District and Granite Education Foundation during Hunter High School’s end-of-year celebration assembly in May.

Maeghan was diagnosed with intracranial high blood pressure, a condition requiring several surgeries to help alleviate severe headaches, body aches, lack of focus, memory difficulty and other side effects. Despite the challenges, she maintains a positive attitude and always looks for ways to lift others, including a close friend who battled cancer.

“The award is basically for kids who have gone through massive trials and who are able to persevere, get their work done, and be a hard worker,” LeeAnn Mason, Maeghan’s mother, said.

Maeghan was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension several years ago. “Basically, my body produces too much spinal fluid because it thinks I have a brain tumor...but there is no brain tumor,” Maeghan said. “So, my body is releasing the fluid to combat a tumor that isn’t there.”

Maeghan’s mother explained that Maeghan started losing motor function and experiencing speech regression when she was 11.

Maeghan has had over nine surgeries, sees multiple specialists, has had multiple surgeries and has experienced several hospital stays. Besides the hypertension, Maeghan’s eye muscles do not work together so she has had three different surgeries to tighten the muscles her mother said.

Maeghan has a shunt to drain the fluid from her head. She must lay down three times a day for 15-30 minutes each time until she can feel the pressure in her head normalize. In 10th grade, she did school at home because her medical needs were so severe.

Meaghan also has liver tests that come back with incorrect levels, has had blood clots in her jugular vein, and has a small sinus cavity due to sinus disease mastoiditis. Her mother said that they have been in the emergency room due to severe headaches. “We worried about the shunt failing, and after multiple MRIs and tests she ended up needing another eye surgery,” she said.

While managing Maeghan’s health needs, LeeAnn said she has even had to fight their insurance company to try to get coverage for genetic and other testing to determine the root cause of Maeghan’s health problems. She explained that idiopathic intracranial hypertension is most common among women in childbearing years, who are overweight and who are on birth control.  Maeghan was diagnosed at the age of 12 and does not fit the typical category of those who commonly suffer from this disease. 

“Several times along her journey we weren’t sure she would even graduate at all,” LeeAnn said.  “We would go through periods of time when we go back to the drawing board to figure out what is going on with her body.”

When Meaghan became ill on a family camping trip, it took 14 months to get a diagnosis.

“I don’t know where I get the strength. I do the terrible thing of saying ‘I’m fine’ and only those closest to me know how I am really feeling,” Maeghan said.

“Most people have no idea what it's like for her. Most people don’t deal with daily chronic pain.  Because of her eyes she can be at a computer no more than four hours a day. Online learning was a real struggle,” LeeAnn said. “She’s one tough kiddo. Her attitude is what has made a big difference.”

Maeghan was well enough this year to get a front desk job at Acord Ice Center.

Hundreds of students are nominated for the Absolutely Incredible Kid award each year. Maeghan received gifts from partnering organizations including Granite Credit Union and the Utah Grizzlies.