Christmas comes early in hometown of terminally-ill boy
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 22, 2015 12:41PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 22, 2015 8:21PM EDT
Christmas is coming two months early in the rural Ontario town of St. George.
The streets, shops and houses are decorated with holiday lights already, and the small community is putting final touches on 25 floats for a parade on Saturday.
A movie special effects company has said it will provide artificial snow, and Ontario Provincial Police are making plans for more than 6,000 people to attend.
Even Santa is expected to land in time to celebrate on Saturday.
It’s all for seven-year-old Evan Leversage, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour shortly before his second birthday. The tumour has left him blind in one eye and low on energy.
When doctors recently told Evan's mother, Nicole Wellwood, that her son was unlikely to live much longer, family, friends and strangers took it upon themselves to organize what might be his last Christmas.
Wellwood told CTV News Channel that her son is “very excited,” but “his big question is why?”
“It’s hard to explain to a seven-year-old,” she said in an interview from her living room, where a Christmas tree was already decorated Thursday. “My best response has been, you have a lot of people that love you. That’s the truth.”
Wellwood thanked her neighbours for helping Evan cross a big wish off his “bucket list.” Only a few things are left, including going out for chicken wings, seeing a movie and getting a dog named Ernest. Wellwood said she doesn’t think now is the best time for a new dog.
Wellwood's cousin, Shelly, has launched a GoFundMe page to help support the family through Evan's illness. She's also been spearheading the campaign to get residents of St. George to decorate their homes for Christmas.
"Nikki is in survival mode and is working hard to make the most of the present and immediate future with Evan and his brothers," Shelly wrote on the GoFundMe page. She adds that, while many are helping with Christmas lights, food donations and other gifts, the family also appreciates monetary contributions to help them through their hardship.
"It's hard for her to think of the future," Shelly said of her cousin. "Funds will go directly toward helping Nikki with food and living expenses for her and the boys over the next few months."
Nicole Wellwood is a single mother, and Evan has two brothers, ages 5 and 9.
Evan's story has reached many people from all parts of the world through the hashtag #LightsonForEvan. The Christmas wishes have been pouring in for several days, and the GoFundMe page for Evan had raised more than $13,800 by Thursday afternoon.
To my littlest hero Evan Leversage of St. George ON. Merry Christmas bud'. #lightsonforevan— Jeremy Bieber (@JeremyBieber) October 22, 2015
#lightsonforevan what an uplifting story of a community coming together to help create memories— Sharon Paley (@sweetleaf3001) October 22, 2015
#lightsonforEvan Merry Christmas Evan! I hope you had an amazing night, enjoy the parade and get all the presents you wanted! Stay strong!— Lisa Waddell (@LisaMWaddell) October 20, 2015