Sudden death of 'superhero' school kid
TRIBUTES have begun to pour for a Dalby teenager who has been described by his family as a "superhero" with the ability to make anyone smile.
Last Friday, 15-year-old Mason Barrett complained of a sore back before he laid down next to his stepfather for a nap, today he died in Queensland Children's Hospital surrounded by his family.
Post-mortem tests revealed Mason had been suffering from meningitis which caused him to suffer from a heart attack, and brain inflammation.
Two days later, he was tragically pronounced brain dead.
Mason was placed on a ventilator at Dalby Hospital before he was flown to the Queensland Children's Hospital, this morning it was switched off.
The sudden loss of Mason has sent shockwaves through his family, according to his aunt Cynthia Ingram.
"It's sunk in for all of us that this is real, and it's happening," she said.
"It's not a dream, we're not going to wake up and it's going to be over.
"We understand it's happening, although we wish it wasn't."
Meningitis is a potentially life-threatening infection that targets the brain and spinal cord.
"His body had tried so hard to fight the meningitis that it had started to fight itself," Miss Ingram said.
"It attacked his heart and caused him to have a heart attack … His heart had stopped working in a period of 24 hours and he had to be revived."
Miss Ingram said her nephew had left behind an incredible legacy with his family and friends.
"He was always known for helping his friends and being the one to lean on when things got hard or if they just needed someone to talk to," she said.
"He would never judge anyone from anything. It was so easy for anyone to open up to him.
"He was so great and I know he'll be missed by so many people."
Miss Ingram's favourite memories with Mason are from when he was as young as seven, when she took him fishing at Loudon Bridge for the first time.
"He caught a catfish, it was pretty big and he was pretty small at the time," she said.
"It actually almost pulled him into the water while he was trying to reel it in.
"I just look back at that every time I need to have a bit of a smile and reflect on that."
Mason today underwent surgery to begin the process of donating his organs to people in need, a selfless act Miss Ingram is sure he would have wanted.
Miss Ingram shared what she would say to Mason if she could speak to him one last time.
"I'm sorry there was nothing we could do," she said.
"I hope he's doing okay wherever he may be. I hope he knew he was very loved."
Mason's family are planning a memorial service in Dalby in the near future, where they will release helium balloons with memories of Mason written on them.
Mason's family have set up a GoFundMe to pay for a funeral and memorial for Mason. To donate, click here.