NAUGATUCK — The community is rallying around a family following the loss of their 6-year-old son.
Mason Lucas passed away suddenly at home Jan. 23 from what is believed to be complications of pre-existing medical conditions.
“He was really funny and enthusiastic and everybody loved him,” said Lisa Grzywacz, Mason’s cousin, who spoke on behalf of the family.
Grzywacz said Mason, a kindergartner at Hop Brook Elementary School, was born with Down syndrome and a hole in one of the ventricles of his heart. Despite his medical condition, Lucas was an energetic child who enjoyed playing with Legos and with his older sister, Madisyn, 9, Grzywacz said.
The family incurred medical expenses treating Mason and moved to Naugatuck from South Carolina in November. Shortly after moving to Naugatuck, the family ran into financial trouble, Grzywacz said.
Grzywacz has set up a fundraising campaign through the fundraising website GoFundMe to help the family pay for Mason’s funeral and medical expenses. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/maseface.
More than $9,000 has been raised so far. The goal is to raise $10,000.
In addition to friends, family and neighbors, the effort to raise money has also been supported largely by school employees and the union that represents Naugatuck police officers.
Naugatuck police officers responded to a call for aid for Mason and, after he passed away, stayed with the family to offer any help they could.
“I was on the call and it affected me so much that I had to help in any way I could,” police Sgt. Paul Markette said.
Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata said the department received a message from Kelly Grzywacz, Mason’s aunt, thanking the police officers for their actions.
Cammarata said Kelly Grzywacz also asked if police could help spread the word about the fundraiser for the family. The union posted a message on its website about Mason and his family and got word to the AFSCME Council 15 Connecticut Council of Police. The state union placed the post on its site as well and it was shared by a large number of police departments in the state, he said.
“The union is always looking for ways to help our community and the families within, particularly with the circumstances as they were with this incident,” Cammarata said. “We felt that anything we could do, even just a simple thing like helping to get the word out about the fund, may help ease their pain.”
Grzywacz said Mason touched everyone he met, including the officers that met him only once. She said the family is trying to remember the happy memories with Mason rather than dwell on the sadness of his loss.
“Mason was the greatest blessing we were given. We were so blessed to be his parents, and Madisyn his sister. We love him more than words can say and miss him very much,” Mason’s family wrote in his obituary.
Grzywacz is grateful for everyone who has donated to help the family.
“Thanks to everybody who has already made a donation, you are helping his family more than you can imagine,” Grzywacz said.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.