Family brings awareness to rare neurological disease


LEXINGTON, Ky.-- A Lexington 6th grader made some special memories a couple of weeks ago when he got to see some of his favorite football players up close.

Family friends and staff at Leestown Middle School pulled some strings to get Mason Hardin and his family tickets to a Cincinnati Bengals game, as well as sideline access during a practice session.

Mason's bedroom is full of football memorabilia and the newest souvenir is a football signed by several Bengals players and head coach Marvin Lewis.

Mason, 12, and his 9-year-old sister Sadie both have a rare genetic disease called Ataxia Telangiectasia, better known as A-T. Only about 500 people have it in the entire nation. Time is not on their side.

Their mother, Kerri Hardin, said "It's a progressive loss of movement. It also affects the immune system and there's a high rate of cancer." There's no cure and the disease is fatal.

The disease became evident about the time Mason should've started walking. Kerri was seven months pregnant with Sadie when she and husband William learned what they were facing. There's not a lot of information out there about A-T, but the Hardins have worked to change that.

"Being a rare disease, it doesn't get a lot of attention," Kerri said. " We've done a lot of fundraisers ourselves, not only to raise awareness but money that goes to research and some sort of treatment."

The Hardins just want others to know their kids are strong in spirit, even though their bodies grow weaker with time. You can see the joy as they tear through their neighborhood in their motorized wheelchairs, just like other kids would on a bike.

Sadie says she wants people to know she and Mason are always at each other's side.

She says that's important "because we're brother and sister."

Brother and sister who have a lesson for all of us, which is to make each day special.


You can follow the Hardins on Facebook at Team Mason & Sadie.

To find out more about AT or to donate to research, go to

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