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11-year-old child offers challenge to UK boxing community

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Speaking alongside his mother Kerry, Mason roared “any boxers want to join me? Then come and challenge me!” as interviewer Dev Sahni dubbed him more of a fighter than any professional pugilist.

Young Mason has been doing a variety of social media workout challenges throughout this lockdown period, including sit-ups, bicep curls and even some sparring, to help raise money for the DEBRA charity.

Mason’s mum Kerry, however, thinks there is one particular challenge where the plucky youngster might have the upper hand.

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“He can do the splits… can boxers do the splits?”

Mason’s illness, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), is a genetic skin condition that causes the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch. Children with EB are often dubbed ‘butterfly children’ as their skin is as fragile as the wings of a butterfly.

Kerry White explained the importance of the DEBRA charity in helping her and her family cope with Mason’s condition.

“DEBRA is a charity that’s supported Mason from birth. They fund the NHS nurses that work for Great Ormond Street, 50% of the wages are funded by DEBRA. We couldn’t manage without the nurses.

“Mason’s condition is really, really rare so to have people that are clued up, and know all about the condition and can look after him… we need that in our lives.

“It’s a challenging condition, we have to take it day by day. Without those nurses in our lives we wouldn’t cope.”

Mason’s lockdown challenges to date have raised over £12k via his JustGiving page, with a single donation of £10k coming from Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland.

Kerry explained that the social media challenges were Mason’s idea – fuelled by a desire to raise awareness and much-needed cash for the DEBRA charity as well as to help Mason overcome the loss of his favourite school lesson: PE.

“His favourite subject at school is PE, and he’s missing his friends and obviously he’s missing PE. He loves to keep fit. Schoolwork is happening… but not as much as it should.

“Mason’s shielding because he’s highly vulnerable to getting coronavirus, so we were thinking what we could do to raise money to keep the charity going.”

Explaining why the workout challenges are deserving of the public’s attention, and why they are so gruelling for young Mason, she added: “The little things he does that don’t look a lot to us are big things to Mason. A few sit-ups, a few squats… it’s a big thing for him. So we film it, raise awareness and try and keep the charity going.”

With such a painful ailment to contend with, Kerry admits that planning the workout challenges has proven tough but, as ever, Mason is determined to persevere to help DEBRA continue their good work.

“With these lockdown challenges, Mason has in his head what he wants to do every day, but depending on his skin, depending on his feet, depending on how sore he is we’ve had to adapt things every day. One day he wanted to do a boxing one, but he couldn’t walk because his feet were sore so we did have to do a few things on the floor instead.

“It’s one of those conditions where you don’t know what’s ahead of you daily, every day is different.”

“Without the DEBRA charity we couldn’t survive, they’re a great charity.”

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