WASHINGTON — Among the many goals of Mason Carter Harvey's anti-obesity campaign is to get the signatures of 85 famous or important people who can help spread his story.
The seventh-grader from Guthrie landed a big one on Monday — first lady Michelle Obama.
“You are an amazing young man,” Obama wrote in Mason's signature book. “Everyone in our nation needs to do our share to help children grow up healthy and strong. Keep up the great work!”
The first lady, who has been involved in her own effort to fight childhood obesity, had heard Mason's story of losing 85 pounds in the past year and starting his “Strive for 85” mission to get others to lose weight.
She invited him to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, which drew an estimated 30,000 people on Monday, and gave him a hug when she met him.
Mason was thrilled.
“It was lots of fun,” he said. “She's nice, very nice.”
Obama, he said, was “the number one person that I needed to meet to get this word across America. And I think she's going to help me do that.”
Early this year, Mason contacted Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett to congratulate him on his successful drive to get Oklahoma City residents to lose 1 million pounds.
To highlight efforts to fight obesity, the first lady invited Cornett to sit in her box for her husband's State of the Union speech in 2010. In January of this year, the mayor invited Mason to attend his State of the City speech, where Cornett read Mason's email aloud.
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 “remark