Salem Stampede Rodeo plans night to remember for toddler with heart transplant

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(Photo: Courtesy Kevin DeBusk)

Two-year-old Mason Haislip got to feel like a cowboy for the night at the Salem Championship Stampede Rodeo. (Photo: Courtesy Kevin DeBusk)

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The Salem Championship Stampede Rodeo partnered with the Dreaming of Three foundation on Saturday night to offer an unforgettable VIP experience to a little boy who has overcome numerous challenges during his two-and-a-half years on this Earth.

Mason Haislip was born on June 8, 2017 with rare congenital heart defect that altered the structure of his heart and caused a leaky valve.

Mason’s heart started causing problems when he was just a month old. After struggling through multiple surgeries and contracting a rare infection before the age of two, doctors were finally able to replace Mason’s weak heart with what his family calls “his hero heart.”

“Since [the] transplant Mason has become the normal wild toddler that we always longed to have. His hero heart saved his life and has allowed him to flourish,” his mother Tiffany said to Dreaming of Three.

Even with his new heart, Mason’s health struggles continued and his family revealed that he was diagnosed with lymphoma on Dec. 25, 2019

In order to give the Haislip family a fun and unforgettable experience, Dreaming of Three brought the Haislip family down from Richmond and allowed Salem Stampede Rodeo’s producer Kevin DeBusk to handle the rest.

DeBusk arranged for the Haislips to have dinner at Mac and Bob’s Restaurant before taking the family to the Salem Civic Center for a behind-the-scenes tour and even a horseback ride before Saturday night’s rodeo.

“Words cannot express how amazing this experience was and how in love with the rodeo we fell,” Mason’s mother says on Facebook. “Thank you to everyone involved in making this happen and making it such a dream.”

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