By Michelle Mason
My mom, Donna Mason, has been a nurse at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in their acute pediatrics unit for the last 38 years. As she retires, I want to highlight her work as a dedicated nurse, mother and wife.
Right after graduating nursing school in 1985, she started working as a pediatric nurse at UCLA and has been saving the lives of sick children there ever since. She has worked the night shift since the beginning – 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., three nights a week, for 38 years.
She married her high school sweetheart (my dad, Mike) in 1986 and they had three girls: my older sister, Kelley, in 1987, me in 1989, and my little sister, Julia, in 1994 (she was eight months pregnant and at work during the Northridge earthquake). Because she worked the night shift, she never missed any of our soccer games or cheer competitions. She was there for everything, pushing through her exhaustion to not miss a single moment.
My mom is the kind of person who is immediately likeable and she’ll be your friend in an instant. My friends will call my mom for advice. Over the years, there were sick kids who would stay at her hospital for months and months, and for the very sick kids who did not make it, my mom went to every one of their funerals. I think that tells you a lot about my mom, that the families wanted their child’s nurse with them.
The proudest title my mom holds is Gogo! She became a grandma in 2019 and has six grandkids, three boys and three girls: Sonny, Daisy, Campbell, Rhys, Lucy and Skip. All of us daughters were pregnant at the same time, so Rhys, Lucy, and Skip were all born this year! Funny story, my dad wanted his “grandpa name” to be Handsome so all his grandkids call him Handsome. My mom, naturally, wanted her “grandma name” to be Gorgeous, but when my son, Sonny, started talking, he turned Gorgeous into Gogo and it stuck.
So finally, after 38 years, three kids, six grandkids, and innumerable kids that she’s taken care of at UCLA, my mom retired this November. Myself, along with my sisters and my dad, are indescribably proud of her and cannot thank her enough for what she’s done for our family. She deserves nothing but rest, which she won’t get with six grandkids.
I would love for the world to recognize the hard work and dedication that our family and the kids of Los Angeles have benefited from for almost 40 years. Congrats, Mom!