WICHITA — Mason Medlam is in the fight of his young life.
But he has defied the odds ever since he was born five years ago, his mother said, and he’s doing it again.
“He’s still alive — they didn’t think he would be,” Sheila Medlam said of doctors at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where Mason was taken after she pulled him from a farm pond about a quarter-mile north of their house near Colwich on Tuesday morning.
“They gave us a zero percent chance of survival. It’s been almost 24 hours.”
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Mason has autism, and has never been allowed outside without supervision, his mother said.
But the air conditioning went out at their house in the 4200 block of North 183rd Street West earlier this week, and the family put a fan in the window.
“He pushed the fan out and the screen and went to the pond,” she said. “It’s a horrible twist of events that is absolutely just stunning.”
He had never been to the pond before, Sheila said, because she did not consider it safe.
“He’s never let out unsupervised — ever,” she said. “Somebody’s always with him. I just don’t even know how this happened.”
Sheila was at work when she got a call from her adult daughter, who was home watching him. When she learned he was missing, she called 911 and told them to tell searchers to check the farm pond.
“I just knew,” she said. “I had a feeling. For some reason, they started looking elsewhere.”
She rushed home and went straight to the pond — and found her boy. The pond is fairly shallow, 20 to 25 feet wide and 40 feet long, authorities said.
Mason is surrounded by loved ones at the hospital. The family has Yo Gabba Gabba, his favorite show, playing on television. His bear and ducky are with him in his bed.
“He’s stabilized a little throughout the night,” his mother said. “They thought he would have cardiac arrest yesterday afternoon and it never happened.
“He’s really done some surprising things.”
Among the visitors to the hospital has been Paula Kear, the mother of Chase Kear — who miraculously survived a devastating injury in a pole vaulting mishap in late 2008.
The Kear family is convinced Chase recovered because of Father Emil Kapaun, a Kansas native who died in 1951 after saving hundreds of American lives in prisoner of war camps in North Korea.
The Kears asked Kapaun through prayer to seek a miraculous healing from God for their son, and she brought the prayer to the Medlams at the hospital.
Sheila Medlam wants people to pray for Kapaun to intercede for Mason as well.
The Vatican is examining whether Kapaun should be declared a saint.
“He needs another miracle” to be canonized, Medlam said of Kapaun. “I think Mason will be it. I sure hope so.”
Her boy has always been a fighter, she said, “and he’s not going to give up now.”
The prayer used by the Kears:
“Father Emil Kapaun gave glory to God by following his call to the priesthood and thus serving the people of Kansas and hoe in the military. Father Kapaun, I ask your intercession not only for these needs which I mention now...but that I too may follow your example of service to God and my neighbor. For the gifts of courage in battle and perseverance of faith, we give you thanks, oh Lord.”