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

Monday, December 07, 2015

A Child's Passage Through Life

"One of Evan's favourite things to do was to have his family read all the mail that he received from caring people around the world."
"The family was told by the St.George post office that Evan has received even more mail than letters to Santa."
Stedman Community Hospice (Brantford, Ontario) website

"His smile, his laughter and the impact he has had on my life, that's what I will remember most about Evan. The impact Evan has had on the world in his seven years is farther reaching and more enduring than most souls who get to stay here ten times longer."
"His quiet bravery, simple wishes and signature thumbs-up, inspired caring strangers to reach out in love and support. He came to represent all children and families who struggle with health issues, especially childhood cancer."
"I was holding him as he took one last deep breath, and I knew at that very moment that this would be his last. I couldn't believe my eyes but he died with the most beautiful smile on his face."
Nicole Wellwood, mother of Evan Leversage

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Evan Leversage who inspired early Christmas festivities 

He was much too young to die, but then he was much too young to have been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. He was just on the cusp of celebrating his second birthday when that implacable diagnosis devastated his family. From that time forward his experiences were not that of a child untroubled by a calamitous prognosis for his future. For it was clear he would have no future beyond the few years it would take for the cancer to destroy his life.

And despite the incessant exposure he was subjected to in hospital stays, attending medical appointments and the chemotherapy he underwent, he exhibited patience and good humour, his mother said, recalling the five years of coping with her child's needs from age two to seven. Back in September, medical specialists informed his family that nothing more could be done for the little boy. He had been receiving palliative care throughout most of his life, and even that was coming to an end.

Evan Leversage at his home with his mother, Nicole Wellwood in St. George, Ontario on Oct. 21, 2015. Evan died Sunday morning.
Peter Power for National Post   Evan Leversage at his home with his mother, Nicole Wellwood in St. George, Ontario on Oct. 21, 2015
A suggestion was made by the doctors that the family might consider moving their Christmas celebration forward, to capture the moment with Evan, while he was still able to enjoy the colour and fantasy and joy of the holiday season. And while the family made its plans, so did the community of the small town where they lived in St.George, Ontario, along with some outlying areas. Christmas for the entire area was planned early this yer.

In October there was a Christmas parade with 25 floats, an event that drew in the presence of police and fire vehicles to help in the celebration. A pipe band played and Clydesdale horses pulled floats. The entire village had put up Christmas decorations. Part of the street where Evan's family lived was blanketed with snow, courtesy of snow machines.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young   Evan Leversage rides in sleigh at a Christmas Parade in St. George, Ontario on Saturday October 24, 2015.

Evan rode with Santa on his sleigh through the jubilant streets, greeting thousands of people who cheered for him. The unusual situation received quite a bit of publicity abroad and elicited interest from people as far from small-town Ontario as Australia and the United Kingdom. Just as well this event had been planned, offering the little boy the opportunity to celebrate another Christmas, with himself as celebrity.

On the 4th of November he was admitted to the Stedman hospice. When area volunteer firefighters put up the Christmas tree in the living area of the hospice, Evan was on hand to direct the proceedings.

He died on Sunday morning.

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