Mom of boy with cancer still 'speechless' after town rallies for early Christmas
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, October 25, 2015 1:19PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 26, 2015 7:56AM EDT
The mother of a seven-year-old boy with terminal cancer says she's still "speechless" and amazed, two days after her town banded together to celebrate an early Christmas for her son.
About 7,000 people attended a Christmas parade in Evan's honour on Saturday night in St. George, Ont., about 100 kilometres west of Toronto.
Doctors say the seven-year-old, who has an inoperable brain tumour, may not make it to Dec. 25, so neighbours, friends and even strangers strung up their Christmas lights a little early this year, coated Evan's lawn in fake snow, and collected gifts and donations for his family.
The celebration culminated with a parade through town on Saturday evening, during which Evan joined the 25-float procession by hopping into Santa's sleigh, and riding side by side with Saint Nick.
Nicole Wellwood, Evan's mother, said the experience was unforgettable for her son and their entire family.
"It honestly was an amazing experience and I think that it proved how incredible people can be," Wellwood said on CTV's Canada AM on Monday.
Ever since Evan was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age two, the single mother said the family has been "blessed" with many supportive people.
In past Christmases, she said, the community would often step in to help her and her three sons.
But she never expected the outpouring of support she experienced over the weekend.
"I knew a lot of people have always rallied behind Evan, but the attention this got has honestly been just insane," she said. ""It tells me that there's a lot of truly amazing people out there. This goes beyond a community … this is worldwide now."
In addition to the Christmas celebration, a GoFundMe page, set up by Evan's cousin, had raised more than $37,000 by Monday morning.
Wellwood is also encouraging Evan's supporters to consider joining the Gold Ribbon Campaign, an initiative dedicated to raising awareness about childhood cancer.
"People need to be the voice for these children," she said. "They're heroes."
On Sunday, Wellwood said Evan has also been overjoyed at the amount of love and support he's received.
"He's been in amazement since yesterday," Nicole Wellwood told CTV News Channel.
"This morning when we first woke up, he saw us watching some videos that were on YouTube already and he looked and me and he goes, 'I'm on YouTube?'" she said, laughing. "He just lit right up."
Of all the special moments on Saturday, Wellwood said Evan's favourite parts were meeting the character Spongebob Squarepants and having the chance to climb aboard Santa's sleigh.
"He honestly was just all smiles," she said on Monday. "In all those pictures (of him on the sleigh) he's waving and smiling and so happy.
"He realized then, at that moment, how many people truly love him."