Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, October 23, 2015

Putting On A Christmas Face

"It's news you don't even know how to grasp. When you know the inevitable, you have to make the best of every day."
"It means waking up every day and putting on a happy face; we're bound and determined to not let it take away the joy and fun we have until the end."
"Cancer is a monster and I can't just leave it up to chance that he'll have one last Christmas and that he'll be in a state to enjoy it."
"We wanted to give him a little bit more of the atmosphere of Christmas."
"It's been quite the emotional roller-coaster. It's a huge response to a simple wish. It really is a Christmas miracle."
Nicole Wellwood, St.George, Ontario
Evan Leversage
Nicole Wellwood holds her son, Evan Leversage, in this photo posted to her Facebook page on May 27, 2015.

Nicole's son Evan Leversage is seven years old. Unlike most little boys his age he tires easily these days. But these are the days that are left to him. His mother, in speaking of miracles, wishes she could choose the miracle she really wants, but she has to settle for minor miracles. It's miraculous enough if what is being planned will make Evan happy. He had a happy-list, and most of it was fulfilled. Whatever made Even happy made his family happy.

His brothers Logan, 9, and Tyson, 5, are involved with their mother in seeing to it that their brother has some good experiences. Everyone imagines he's had more than enough of the other kind. Before Evan was even two years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, so he knows what chemotherapy and radiation treatment are like. He also knows what it's like to go to school, and he much prefers that, though he's had but two years of it.

Back then, when he was going to school, it's likely that no one thought he would soon have to leave school, for good. But that's what happened when the tumour returned with a vengeance. Hard to imagine how anything could have a vengeance against a seven-year-old child, but that's the thing about cancer, it's heartless, makes no compromises, barges into a life turning it inside out and upside down and then, sometimes, leaves with the life on a journey to death.

Seven-year old Evan Leversage, who is battling cancer, at his home with his mother, Nicole Wellwood in St. George, Ont., on Oct. 21, 2015.
Peter Power for National Post   Seven-year old Evan Leversage, who is battling cancer, at his home with his mother, Nicole Wellwood in St. George, Ont., on Oct. 21, 2015.

And this is what is happening with Evan. When he began Grade 2 he had two weeks of classes and then his right arm and leg weren't responding as they should, a signal that the tumour had reappeared, grown, and spread, and the doctors had nothing left to offer. Evan's wishes? He wanted to see Niagara Falls, to eat at Chuck E.Cheese, to see the new film Hotel Transylvania 2, to be a policeman, and to have the pleasure of a wonderful family Christmas.

All that's left is the Christmas; the family had gone to Niagara Falls for the weekend and Evan saw the movie with a friend. The local police force arranged to make Evan an honorary officer and would provide him with a pint-size uniform. And his mother organized a big family Christmas dinner with extended family and friends in attendance at their house decorated for Christmas Eve.

Christmas in St. George
A home is shown decorated with Christmas lights in this cover image promoting a campaign for a terminally ill boy in St. George, Ont. (Facebook / Christmas in St. George)

Even their neighbours decorated their places for Christmas as well, putting up lights so that when Evan looked out the windows of his house he'd see the bright colours. Nicole's cousin distributed flyers in the neighbourhood and it wasn't long before others got involved, local businesses as well as private homes all decorating for Christmas in October. And then the flyer was posted on Facebook and it was noticed beyond the country's borders.

Signs wishing Evan a Merry Christmas have been put up in the downtown core of the village. And cards and messages and gifts and photographs of houses lit up with Christmas lights have arrived from around the world. Evan has given all of this some thought. He's quite aware that Christmas doesn't arrive until late December. And wonders why people who don't know him bring him gifts.

He asked his mother why that is. "I told him, 'Because  you have a whole town that loves you'," his mother responded. "This is how I want to remember him -- happy and excited", she said.

Peter Power for National Post
Peter Power for National Post    Seven-year old Evan Leversage, who is battling cancer, looks at the family Christmas tree with his mother, Nicole Wellwood in St. George, Ont., on Oct. 21, 2015.

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