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After tough early childhood, Blankenburg finds a home on the mound

North Penn senior LHP Mason Blankenburg experienced more than any kid should in the first 9 years of his life. But now, his path is clear and he's realizing new successes.

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After tough early childhood, Blankenburg finds a home on the mound

Mason Blankenburg gets his sign from the catcher in an early season baseball game this spring at the Ripken Baseball Complex in Myrtle Beach, SC. The senior LHP will play in college next year, but his road to this point has been anything but conventional.

Mason Blankenburg gets his sign from the catcher in an early season baseball game this spring at the Ripken Baseball Complex in Myrtle Beach, SC. The senior LHP will play in college next year, but his road to this point has been anything but conventional.

Bob Harmer: www.bharmer.com

Mason Blankenburg gets his sign from the catcher in an early season baseball game this spring at the Ripken Baseball Complex in Myrtle Beach, SC. The senior LHP will play in college next year, but his road to this point has been anything but conventional.

Bob Harmer: www.bharmer.com

Bob Harmer: www.bharmer.com

Mason Blankenburg gets his sign from the catcher in an early season baseball game this spring at the Ripken Baseball Complex in Myrtle Beach, SC. The senior LHP will play in college next year, but his road to this point has been anything but conventional.

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TOWAMENCIN- After being in 9 foster homes over the course of 4 years, senior North Penn baseball player, Mason Blankenburg said, “I never thought I would have the opportunity to play baseball in college.”

Looking at where Blankenburg came from, to where he is now, the only relationship that has really ever remained stable was the one he had with the game of baseball.

“When I was 5 years old I was in my first foster home. At first I didn’t really understand what was going on, I kind of just thought I went to a family member’s house. I was in the foster home for about 2 months or so, then eventually I came back home. At the age of 7, I was in another foster home. When I was growing up my parents were involved with a lot of drugs, so I would be sent from foster homes to back home when they were clean. I was in 9 different foster homes all together. At the age of 9 my mom died from a heroin overdose. After this I was adopted. I have a sister who grew up with me, and experienced everything with me,” Blankenburg explained.

When I was growing up my parents were involved with a lot of drugs, so I would be sent from foster homes to back home when they were clean. I was in 9 different foster homes all together”

— Mason Blankenburg

Living in several different homes in several different locations meant moving schools became pretty normal for him. Although that lifestyle became normal for Blankenburg, that did not mean it was easy.

“The big thing that hurt me was just changing school to school because I was never able to really settle down and get a great education. I would get some material, but then have to move to another school. The biggest part of all this that hurt me was not being able to settle down or maintain friends. Now that I’m adopted, I finally get to maintain some friends,” Blankenburg said.

Blankenburg had traumatic childhood experiences like losing a parent to drugs, living with 9 different families, and never really feeling at home. However, he feels these tough experiences as a child have built the strong person he is today.  

“I think my childhood has helped me grow as a person. I feel like the harder things you face, the better of a person it can help you become. Once you have already faced some hardships, you learn how to deal with them. I had to adapt to different things because of the hardships I have faced. I can take things head on now. I see things from a different perspective, and really help people now because of the hard times I’ve been through. If someone else is going through a hard time I can be there for them. A lot of people have not been through the stuff I’ve been through, especially at a very early age,” explained Blankenburg.

I think my childhood has helped me grow as a person. I feel like the harder things you face, the better of a person it can help you become”

— Mason Blankenburg

These tough experiences not only made him stronger, but Blankenburg also learned a lot from what his childhood gave him.

“The good thing about it was that it helped me interact with a bunch of people. There were other people at my foster homes, so I would have to get to know them and the parents that took care of me. If I had to move, I would be okay because I was used to talking to all these new people. It really made me more sociable. It’s easier to talk to people now because I’ve talked to so many people from all these different foster homes, so it has helped me grow in that way,” added Blankenburg.

When Blankenburg does not want to think about everything he has been through, the one thing that can always clear his mind is baseball.

“Right after I was adopted my adopted family wanted me to play some sports. I tried basketball, and I tried soccer. In the winter I was on an indoor baseball team and it was my first year ever playing. The coach told me I was pretty good for it to be my first year playing. That whole winter I played I got better. My mom told me ‘you should try to make friends around here because you’re new and you should try out for the TYA travel team’. Not thinking I had a chance because it was my first year playing baseball, trying out for a travel team sounded crazy. I tried out, ended up making it, and it was the greatest experience of my life. Ever since then, baseball has always been a love to me, so it kind of gets me out of thinking about my past. It is almost like a comfort zone area,” Blankenburg explained.

As a part of the North Penn Baseball program. Mason has begun to experience new successes this year, and his journey to this point has not gone unnoticed by his coach.

” I have known Mason since he started coming to our camps years ago, and he always struck me as a personable, happy kid. When I first heard his story I could hardly believe it. And now watching him mature and gain confidence over the last coupe of years, I am doubly impressed. He is a great kid to work with, and I wish nothing but all the best for him. He deserves it as much as anyone,” said North Penn head baseball coach, Kevin Manero.

After being adopted, Blankenburg not only fell in love with a sport, but he also finally got to do some of the things that children experience with a normal childhood.

“In some of the places I’ve lived, they tried to do little vacations because you’re still a kid, so they tried to make the best experiences possible when you are in a tough situation like that. We would go to the beach or a lake, but once I was adopted I was able to experience more of a summer,” said Blankenburg.

With his life turned around now, Blankenburg tries to keep most of his childhood behind him. He has stumbled upon a childhood friend who happened to remember him, but with all the places he’s been, that’s very rare. With all the people he met over this 4 year journey, Blankenburg has found it easier to make friends now.

“I think I’m better at making friends, because most people would say I’m easy to talk to. I would say it has become easier to make friends because the foster homes I lived in there was so many different personalities and characters, so you just got to learn so much about so many different people. That’s helped me be able to talk to all these unique characters,” Blankenburg added.

So far in his senior season at North Penn, Blankenburg is making the most of his opportunities. He is 3-0 on the mound in the Knights’ first 10 games, experiencing some of his greatest successes on the diamond so far this spring.

In the future, Blankenburg plans to keep pushing forward and doing what he loves. Everything he had to go through at a young age has also inspired a future career.

“I commited to Arcadia for baseball. I got lucky enough to be able to make the next step, so I’m going to just keep playing as long as I can. I plan on going to college at Arcadia and playing baseball, then becoming a teacher, so I can actually help kids because I love kids. With the childhood I went through, I feel like I have a lot to teach,” said Blankenburg.

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10 Comments

10 Responses to “After tough early childhood, Blankenburg finds a home on the mound”

  1. Kathleen Sullivan on April 19th, 2018 11:04 am

    This is a great article. I hate seeing all the negative articles about foster care because those situations are the minority! Having worked in the foster care system for more than 35 years I know that Most kids in foster care experience foster parents who are loving and help nurture the kids who need it most! If people are interested In foster care those should co tact Bill Carroll at the Iffice of Chindten and Youth 610-278-5800. I am now retired but hope you will print more articles like these!

  2. Jami Behm on April 19th, 2018 11:12 am

    Tremendous article about an even better individual. Keep it up Mason! I wish you the best this season and beyond.

  3. Patty Roberts on April 19th, 2018 12:42 pm

    I’m so proud of the young man. Every time I see him he is respectful. He is a true testament to what a person can overcome despite the hardships. Continue to focus and work hard Mason. The sky is definitely the limit to what you can achieve.

  4. Rocky Wright on April 19th, 2018 2:19 pm

    Thank you Todd Thorpe for sharing this story. Reading about a young man like this is not only heartwarming but inspiring as well. In troubled times like these it’s nice to hear about someone who has overcome such adversity and continues grinding it out. It’s stories like this one about Mason that gives us all faith that the next generation will be OK!

  5. Marykate Blankenburg on April 19th, 2018 8:19 pm

    Mason, every day of the past nine years with you has been an honor and a privilege. We are proud of you every day. You are resilient and kind. May you always know how lucky we were to have found you and Maddy! Go out into the world and do well, but always remember to go out and do good also!

  6. Maria Gardizy on April 20th, 2018 8:29 pm

    Daelin ~ thank you for sharing this story with the NP community. It speaks to the strength not only of an individual but of our community as a whole.
    Blackenberg Family ~ thank you for reminding us of all that is good and unifying in this crazy world and for raising a wonderful man.
    Mason ~ thank you for taking every challenge in your life and doing something positive. You’re absolutely right, you have so much to teach others. Wishing you every happiness as you graduate and as you move forward in life. I have no doubt you will be very successful!

  7. Carl Blankenburg on April 24th, 2018 3:49 pm

    Mason, all the Blankenburgs in the world are rooting for your success. Congrats!

  8. Mary DeAngelis on April 29th, 2018 7:46 pm

    Thank you for printing this special story about a very unique child with so much potential for love in his early years and in the present moment…Having an almost family relationship with Mason’s adoptive parents thru the years, I feel it neessary to congratulate them also for the marvelous environment, education, and love that they provided Mason and his sister Maddy…

    Mason, congratulations on your achievements thus far..and God bless you for your future endeavors in education and sports. When I first met you, I knew immediately what a fine, kind and loving boy you were…I am so proud of you today as I was upon our first meeting. Much love to you and family!

  9. Sara Rattigan on May 25th, 2018 9:39 pm

    Mason is one of the kindest, hardworking, and enamoring young man I have ever met. I have cross paths with thousands of students in my tenure, but this one, this one makes every day worth it. He is going to do great things in life and I cannot wait to see what he accomplishes. Kudos to his adoptive parents who truly molded Mason into a respectful and kindred spirit. Dream big, Mason! We are all behind you!

  10. Rachel A Armstrong on June 9th, 2018 3:48 pm

    Mason,
    youre a great kid and i can 100% relate to you. i didnt do much in school due to a lot of bullying and everything around me just seemed like people from every direction were out to get me. you have a sad story but an amazing heart. Good luck.
    _rachel

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After tough early childhood, Blankenburg finds a home on the mound