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Oklahoma boy gets hug from first lady Michelle Obama for his weight-loss campaign

Oklahoman Mason Carter Harvey lost 85 pounds in the past year and started an anti-obesity campaign to encourage others to lose weight. The first lady took notice.
by Chris Casteel Published: April 10, 2012

/articleid/3664989/1/pictures/1691382">Photo - Mason Carter Harvey, left, and his father, Mike, stand in front of the White House on Monday after attending the Easter egg roll at first lady Michelle Obama’s invitation. Photo by Chris Casteel, The Oklahoman
Mason Carter Harvey, left, and his father, Mike, stand in front of the White House on Monday after attending the Easter egg roll at first lady Michelle Obama’s invitation. Photo by Chris Casteel, The Oklahoman

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed Mason's book, as have Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and many others.

The number 85 wasn't in Mason's mind when he decided to lose weight. What he was thinking about, he said, was that he was tired of being bullied by kids who called him “fatso” and “tubby.” He was 11 years old and weighed 206 pounds.

He said he “got off the couch,” and started eating better and playing sports. This year, he said, he hasn't had a sick day at school, “and I feel a lot better about myself.”

He's gotten his father, Mike, to lose 30 pounds this year, getting him under 300 for the first time in a while; they rented bicycles in Washington on Sunday, and Mason made him ride for 85 minutes.

Mason also wants to organize or attend 85 events to raise awareness. One recent event was climbing the stairs at the 52-story BOK tower in Tulsa. His “Strive for 85” campaign has its own website and Facebook page, and he's followed on Twitter by children in other states. One of his friends lost 20 pounds, he said.

Mike Harvey said Monday that his son's weight loss in itself was incredible and that it was “remarkable beyond belief that he's now trying to pay it forward. He's trying to get out there and tell other people that ‘This is what I've done, this is how you can defeat childhood obesity.'”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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