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'I just wanted everyone to have something:' Mom gathers gifts for babies in NICUs

Mom gathers gifts for babies in NICUs
Posted at 7:03 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 13:20:27-05

NOLENSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was painful news for a mother. "Your child has been born with complications." She spent last Christmas unsure of her baby's future. The story this year, is so very different. That mother's now paying it forward in a major way.

No doubt. Growing up in this family, 1-year-old Mason Biddick will love Christmas. He’s surrounded by people who love him, and his grandparents' Nolensville home has all the biggest, best Christmas decorations. Mason already lights up when he sees all this.

“His reaction is 'wooo!' every time," smiled mom Melissa Biddick. “We are so incredibly blessed to have our sweet boy home with us this year.”

This is a very special Christmas for mom Melissa since her baby wasn’t home last Christmas.

“Mason was born with his intestine, bowel and liver on the outside of his belly," she said. “Mason was pretty much on his death bed. He was on 100% oxygen. We didn’t know if he was going to make it.”

Something only made last Christmas scarier. The Nashville Christmas Day downtown bombing knocked out the family’s communication to the Vanderbilt NICU where Mason was being treated.

“I don’t even have words," Melissa remembered. "It was terrifying.”

When Mason finally came home after seven months in the NICU, Melissa wanted to give to all those other worried parents with babies still in the NICU.

“I just wanted everyone to have something," she said.

Melissa's family has held the second Mason Strong Toy Drive for children in the NICU. Last year, it all went to Vanderbilt. This year, the toys went to The Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial.

“He’s only on the ventilator while he’s sleeping,” said Melissa, cradling Mason in her arms. “He’s crawling. He’s standing. Just to see him thrive and do so well is just the best thing in the world. He’s the strongest little boy I know.”