Vancouver Whitecaps FC is honoured to have Mason Vander Ploeg as Kid Captain of the club's home match at Providence Park in Portland against LAFC on Wednesday, October 14.
In August 2018, Mason was diagnosed with coarctation of his aorta, a narrowing of the heart's main artery which would block blood to flow to the lower half of his body. He has undergone one surgery at BC Children's Hospital (BCCH) to treat the coarctation and continues to be monitored, as he may need another one in the future depending on his recovery process.
"There isn't a thanks big enough to encompass how we feel as parents - without BCCH, Mason would not have a future, " said Shanna and Kevin, Mason's parents. "He could have been a tragic statistic, but because of the expertise, passion and dedication of the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and everyone everyone at the hospital, Mason will have a future."
Twelve-year-old Mason is passionate about protecting our oceans and is a junior ambassador for Plastic Oceans Canada, a non-protit organization raising awareness and finding solutions to the global plastic problem that is affecting our waters. He spoke TEDx Bear Creek in Surrey on February 29, sharing about plastic pollution and how we can make changes in our everyday lives to help protect the environment.