His toy car collection helped him pay for treatment.
In an inspiring tale of resilience and passion, Steve Mason, a 69-year-old Columbus, OH native, has overcome his battle with cancer, fueled in part by his lifelong love for Hot Wheels toy cars. Mason's journey with these miniature vehicles goes beyond mere collection; it's a story of how a hobby can become a lifeline during life's toughest challenges.
Learn about a new Hot Wheels museum here.
Steve's love affair with Hot Wheels began in 1960 when his grandmother gifted him a Matchbox VW Beetle. This small token sparked a passion that would grow into an immense collection, requiring Steve to expand his home to accommodate thousands of toy cars. His collection became so extensive that it prompted him to build an extension to his house, much to the relief of his wife, Doris, who was glad to reclaim their living room and spare room.
The collection wasn't just a hobby for Steve; it became a beacon of hope during his darkest hours. In 2006, Steve faced a daunting battle with bladder and kidney cancer, which led to the removal of one of his kidneys and forced him to scale back his home remodeling business. The high costs of treatment and inability to work hit him hard, leading to a financial crisis.
Faced with mounting medical bills and a challenging recovery, Steve made the heart-wrenching decision to sell part of his beloved collection, including some of the oldest Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, and his dream home. The sale of these cherished items, some of which dated back to gifts from his grandmother, helped him navigate through this difficult period.
Now, years later, Steve has emerged cancer-free and with a renewed sense of purpose. He built a special toy room alongside his garage to house his remaining collection of approximately 13,000 cars. His collection, which includes vintage cars now valued between $200 to $300 each, has been appraised at over $65,000.
Despite the challenges, Steve's story is one of triumph and the enduring power of passion. His wife Doris, while not sharing his enthusiasm for diecast cars, has always been a pillar of support, even surprising him with Hot Wheels on occasion.
Steve's journey with his Hot Wheels collection is more than just a tale of a collector; it's a narrative of how a simple hobby can bring immense joy, provide comfort in times of hardship, and even contribute to overcoming life's most daunting challenges. His story serves as an inspiration to many, showcasing the therapeutic and financial value of pursuing one's passions.