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How Cars can Help Cure Cancer

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This is Mason Watson, a young entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the art of automotive design and to the fight against breast cancer. duPont REGISTRY recently learned about Mason and his company, Cars for a Cure Apparel, and was immediately moved by his touching story. Through a collaborative effort, duPont REGISTRY and Cars for a Cure Apparel have teamed up to create a limited edition run of t-shirts that will aid in the search for a cure. Continue reading to learn Mason’s story, what his company stands for and the special edition duPont REGISTRY x Cars for a Cure Apparel t-shirts.

At four, Mason Watson began drawing his first cars. Saturday mornings and lazy evenings with his father, Steve Watson, were spent with boxes of crayons and pencils over sheet after sheet of paper, where the two would craft cars out of thin air. Sometimes, Mason’s mother Sharon would watch her husband and son spend colorful time together. She wouldn’t be able to for much longer.

“When I started school, I started drawing [cars] on the side of my classwork,” Mason remembered of his growing passion.

Mason remembers being twelve when he first learned about the automotive design industry. It was around the same time he learned about the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., which was recently ranked number ten of the World’s 25 Best Design Schools in an article from Business Insider.

While she still could, his mother encouraged him to strive for the best. “My mom always pushed me to do what I wanted to do, and it set a direction for me. If I was going to do it, I had to do it all the way and give it 100 percent.”

With his dad’s influence, his mom’s hand on his shoulder and the name of the best school for fulfilling his dream, young Mason was prodigiously dropped onto a roadmap for success. It was around 2006, and the middle schooler was anything but discouraged.

Mason and Sharon Watson in 2006 (Source: nola.com)
Mason and Sharon Watson in 2006 (Source: nola.com)

[Caption]A picture from that time shows a younger Mason held in a tight hug, his mother’s face right behind his. They’re both wearing the same knowing smile; happy, but closed, expressive, but reserved, both faces hold more knowledge than they wanted.

A year before Mason stepped into the world of S.A.T. scores and letterman jackets, his mother passed away. It had been four painful years of a battle that too many daughters, sisters and mothers fight, but not enough win. Breast cancer took Sharon Watson away.

  • According to 2013 reports from the American Cancer Society, about 12 percent of all women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their life. This year alone, it will claim approximately 39,620 lives.

 

A woman described as “kind, funny, loving, Godly and an avid supporter of St. Tammany Parish Schools” in a May, 2013 article on nola.com, Sharon embodied everything that defines a good neighbor, a loyal friend and an irreplaceable mother. Originally from Sherman, Texas, Sharon earned her masters degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Texas Tech.

She was a woman who wasn’t afraid of dreams and harnessed the overwhelming strength that comes from passion, two of the infinite life lessons she gifted to Mason and his older brother Tanner. Now 21, Tanner is a senior at Louisiana State University, pursuing a degree in sports management and working as the student manager of the school’s baseball team, the Tigers.

“She was always pushing me and my brother, you know, ‘hey, don’t give up on anything, don’t lose hope for whatever you want to do,’” Mason said. They were words that he took to heart. “That helped me get a clear sight on what I wanted to do and what I wanted to do with it.”

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Instead of retreating from the world after such a devastating loss, Mason jumped in with full force. 14 years old and just a few months from tragedy, he was joining online forums left and right, uploading his sketches of cars and digital renderings and asking for constructive criticism from anyone who would share. Forge.com, Core77.com, Cargocollective.com; you can find traces of his work and conversations on all of them.

Throughout high school, Mason just kept designing. The wheels in his head were constantly churning out wheels on the page, but aside from the forums, they weren’t really getting any distance. Until that one random night, after a few suggestions from other people. The light flicked on. A way to follow his passion, a way to make a difference, a way to remember his mother and help others became visible.

“Slowly after, I started thinking more and more of how I could do something in her memory and help all the other women out there who this disease affects. It all clicked one day when I was playing around in Photoshop and I thought, ‘Why don’t I make T-shirts and give proceeds to breast cancer research.’”

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Long months of planning, designing and attention to detail ensued, and in April of this year, as a senior in high school, Mason launched Cars for a Cure Apparel. Working independently, he sells T-shirts of his own design online; twenty percent of each sale is donated directly to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Though the number of deaths due to breast cancer has seen a steady decrease since 2000, it still remains the second leading cause of cancer death for women, according to the American Cancer Society. Earlier detection and increased awareness have both been credited with contributing to lowered numbers, but only lung cancer claims more victims.

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Each American Apparel T-shirt is available in a variety of colors and features a uniquely retro and artistic design from Watson’s hand. duPont REGISTRY has recently teamed up with Cars for a Cure Apparel, and together we are releasing a limited edition design to help support both the cure and the dream.

  • The American Cancer Society reports that there are approximately 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, men and women. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent report revealed that there were 40,996 women and 439 men that died of breast cancer in 2010. Though the rates are dropping, there is still a huge need for research and advancements of medical treatment to bring those numbers down to zero.

 

Today, Mason is still following the twists and turns of that prodigious roadmap. A freshman at the Art Center College of Design, every day is dedicated to succeeding in their undergraduate transportation design program. According to Mason, that dedication means no more than five or six hours of sleep a night; he claims 50-60 hours a week of work outside of classes to not just keep up, but exceed what is required. He still only pushes for the best.

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“I would like to go straight to an automotive design studio. There’s over 20 in Southern California for all the major manufacturers,” he mentioned as a plan for when he finishes undergrad courses, though staying stateside isn’t a restriction. “I’d like to try and get overseas as well, and try to find a job either here or overseas. I’m definitely aiming for a high-end automotive studio after I graduate, and I want to work my way up to a higher design position.”

His dream employers? “I’d like to work for either BMW or Audi, Volkswagen or Mercedes; the I series would be a cool division to work in.”

Until then, he’ll continue pushing forward, blazing through trails with his mother’s smile and eyes and his brother, father and the duPont REGISTRY by his side. Only fifty of the special edition shirts from Cars for a Cause Apparel will be available for purchase for $30, each with an issue of the 2014 duPont REGISTRY Exotic Car Buyers Guide included and 30% will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.