Canadian Town Throws Early Christmas Parade For Terminally Ill Boy

| by Karin Sun
Evan Leversage's Early Christmas.Evan Leversage's Early Christmas.

Residents of St. George, a small town in Ontario, Canada, threw an early Christmas parade for a local boy with cancer.  

Evan Leversage, 7, was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer when he was 2 years old. In September, doctors reportedly told the boy he might not live to see another Christmas.

In response to the sad news, Evan's family decided to celebrate Christmas two months early this year. When they asked local residents whether they might contribute to the family's celebration, the response was overwhelming.

“I wanted him to get a chance to experience Christmas,” Shelly Wellwood, a cousin of Evan's mother, told ABC News. “I made up a flyer just seeing if we could get some local support to put lights up and bring him Christmas.”

When local florist Brandy King shared Shelly's idea on Facebook, the town's residents decided to rally together and turn the celebration into a town-wide Christmas parade in the boy's honor.

The parade, which took place around 7 p.m. on Oct. 24, featured 25 floats and cars provided by the Ontario Provincial Police, ABC News reported. The event also included a Santa sleigh and a snow machine.

An estimated 7,000 people, including many cancer survivors, attended the parade, reports CBC.

Evan also received Christmas gifts from all over the world, including a Batman hat from the family of Canadian singer Justin Bieber and a voice recording of SpongeBob Square Pants, which was accompanied by a personal visit from the popular cartoon character later that evening.

Residents and business owners chipped in to decorate the town in preparation for the parade. "I organized a get-together downtown to decorate Main Street," Brandy King, owner of the La Petit Fleur flower shop in St. George, told ABC News. "All the local businesses got their windows decorated so it looks like Christmas on Main Street."

"It's been a whirlwind of a week," King added. "There's just so much love pouring out of St. George."

The townspeople helped decorate Evan's home with Christmas lights, provided gifts for the family's tree, and helped with the fake snow on the lawn. Volunteers also organized a toy drive to collect toys for Evan and his two brothers.

Evan's family said it was extremely touched by the town's efforts.

"Nobody should have to prepare to say goodbye to a 7-year-old, and to know that there's that many strangers out there that are sending you positive thoughts and stuff is just, you know, mind-blowing," Evan's aunt, Ashley, told the Mirror.

"It's pretty awesome that people are doing this," his older brother, Logan, added.

Evan's mother, Nicole Wellwood, said that although her son is not expected to live through December, she is still holding out hope. 

"Our true Christmas miracle will be that Evan does get two Christmases," she said.

The family has started a GoFundMe page to help pay Evan's medical bills. To date, the site has raised more than $39,000.

Sources: Mirror, CBC via Yahoo Canada News, ABC News, GoFundMe / Photo credit: Courtesy Shelly Welwood via ABC News