Christmas is coming early to a charming, picturesque town in Ontario this year. The quaint hamlet, with a population of just over 3,100, is rallying together to help a terminally ill boy celebrate his last Christmas together. And they’re not alone. Generosity has been pouring in from neighbouring towns and beyond.
And it’s all to ensure Evan Leversage, age 7, and his family get to celebrate Christmas together one last time. Evan was diagnosed with brain cancer a couple of days before he turned 2. After undergoing an aggressive and lengthy treatment, he seemed to be doing OK. But an MRI earlier this year revealed another tumour, and he began 30 rounds of chemo. In July, a further MRI showed the tumour had grown and spread to other areas of his brain. There is no other treatment available for Evan, which prompted his doctors to suggest the family celebrate Christmas early this year.
His cousin, Shelly Wellwood, began putting up posters around town, asking if people would consider putting their holiday decorations up early so Evan could experience one last real Christmas.
And then her and the entire family watched a real Christmas miracle emerge.
A Facebook group appeared, also inviting locals to get involved. A neighbourhood deli offered to donate Christmas dinner. A specialty event lighting company offered to light up the streets. Mrs. Claus herself sent Evan a special Christmas greeting. People from all over have started decorating their homes early and have shared their pictures with him on the Facebook wall. A local school teacher is asking her students to make Evan and his siblings cards (someone reminded her that Evan likes minions and his favourite colour is purple). Another Facebook commenter left this endearing message, “There is a group of men that go for coffee every morning, at the brown dog. Today they quietly went about making Evans day very special. If you know these men, please say thank you. They only described themselves as ‘The group of old boys sitting at the long table.'”
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And this Saturday, the town has arranged a Christmas parade to march through Evan’s neighbourhood. They have had to cap the number of floats appearing to 25, a number they reached easily. According to Wellwood’s Facebook page for the event, the parade is set to include “dancers, cadets, firetruck, Lions club float, lots of horses, a DeLorean, a Shelby mustang, a cement truck, a dump truck, Touch the Truck float, some family and local business floats and Santa and his reindeer will be making an appearance.”
And as for Evan? “He’s been phenomenal through it all. He wants to make everyone happy. In my eyes, he’s a hero. He never complained of any pain. He persevered through his whole thing,” his mother, Nicole Wellwood, told the CBC.
— Pamela Singleton (@PamelaSinglet19) October 21, 2015
In addition to the parade and decorations, there is also a GoFundMe page, created by the family’s cousin. They have already exceeded their modest financial goal but are welcoming additional funds to help out with other expenses, including RESPs for Evan’s two siblings.
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