While most kids spend their summer caring about fun in the sun and summer plans, eight-year old Mason Scargall spent his summer holidays caring about how he can help others. Mason, who is going into the third grade at Bench Elementary this fall, could certainly teach the masses a thing or two when it comes to making a difference in the community.
“Mason is an awesome kid,” said proud dad Graham Scargall. “He has always cared about others and when he sees someone having a hard time he will often say he wishes he could make things better for them.
“I like helping people,” said Mason.
Mason said that being able to make a difference in his community is very special to him. He set out on this path three years ago when he began selling vegetables by donation that all come from his family’s garden beds. Mason’s mom Ashley suggested with his first venture out with his farm stand, that maybe Mason would like to think about donating a portion of the proceeds to a local charity. Mason’s quick reply was, “or how about all of it?”
“He does that throughout the summer and wheels out his cooler, and has a sign up to attract people,” said Graham. “Last year he donated to Kinsol Vet for people who couldn’t afford their bills, and the year prior to that, half of his proceeds went to the local food bank while the other half went to Victoria Humane Society.”
North Cowichan RCMP officer Wes Richens who is participating in this year’s Tour de Rock and has his sights set on raising $30,000 to support children and families living with cancer spoke at Bench Elementary earlier this year. This inspired Mason to donate this year’s proceeds from his farm stand to Richens and his fundraising cause for cancer. Cancer affects many, and the Scargall family is no exception as they recently learned that one of their young distant relatives Elena who just turned seven was recently diagnosed with lymphoma.
“A huge lump was discovered between her heart, and her chest,” said Mason’s grandma Karen Coward. “She is now on day seven of her treatment, so that hit us all pretty hard.”
Along with swimming, and kayaking one of Mason’s favourite pastimes is riding his bike, so he loved the idea of combining that pleasure with his passion for helping others. This is the third year that Mason and his grandmother Karen have participated together in the Great Cycle Challenge Canada. This challenge takes place throughout the month of August where riders set their personal target to pedal for the cure, and funds are raised and progress is tracked online though the participant’s personal challenge page. Mason, who rode 200 kilometres during his first two years participating in the Great Cycle Challenge, is taking his commitment a little further this year with the help of Richens.
“So far Mason has raised nearly $400 from his food stand which will be added to Wes’s fundraising campaign for this year’s Tour de Rock,” said Graham.
Mason, who rides under the team Cowichan Crushers, had ridden 252 km as of Aug. 23, and was able to complete his final 50 km which took around three hours later that afternoon with the support of Richens, and Cycle Therapy owner Matt Grossnickel who both rode alongside him to Lake Cowichan. Tour de Rock comes to Lake Cowichan on Oct. 3.
Mason has now ridden 302 km, and has raised $2,466. Out of the thousands participating Mason holds the rank of 587th across all of Canada for how much he has raised, and how far he has ridden.
“It has been a privilege for me,” said Richens. “I don’t know many eight-year-olds who would choose to give up their summer to make a difference like this. I’m very honoured that he chose to donate his proceeds to me and Tour de Rock this year.”
While making a difference was the main draw for Mason, hanging out with Richens is an an experience he won’t soon forget.
“It was super cool to ride in his vehicle,” said Mason. “I even got to run my mom’s plates, and turn on the siren.”