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Ontario town puts on Christmas parade for terminally ill boy

Evan Leversage, centre, sits in his family home with mother Nicole Wellwood, left, and father Travis Leversage before watching a Christmas Parade in St. George, Ont., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Residents of the local community organised the parade for the seven-year-old, who has an inoperable brain tumour, and is not expected to see the forthcoming Christmas.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
October 24, 2015 - 4:30 PM

ST. GEORGE, Ont. - It may only be October, but a terminally ill seven-year-old boy in southern Ontario had a white Christmas Saturday evening.

Doctors have said they didn't know if Evan Leversage, of St. George, Ont., would live to see this holiday season, so his town rallied around him to give him a final Christmas parade.

By Saturday afternoon, the ground outside his home was blanketed in artificial snow. There were ornaments in the trees and a sign that read "Santa, stop here" in the window. A snow machine brought a level of authenticity that is hard to come by even on December 25.

Evan has had an inoperable brain tumour since he was just two-years-old, and doctors told his family last month that the tumour had spread.

So Evan made a bucket list, which included a visit to Niagara Falls, a movie, and his favourite restaurant.

And of course, Christmas.

After Evan made his list in mid-September, his mother Nicole Wellwood asked her family and friends to have Christmas in October. Everyone said yes, and Evan's story spread around the world.

"It's been an experience that I don't think anyone's ever going to forget," Wellwood said. "It truly has been amazing having the love and support from this community as well as world-wide. It truly has been lifting up a lot of spirits and bringing in a lot of sunshine during a dark time."

Wellwood said she's used to getting help at Christmas.

"Being a single parent, when things are tight, there's been organizations ... that made sure Christmas has always been very special for this family."

But the outpouring of support this year goes above and beyond all expectations, she said.

A GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $30,000 for the family by the time the parade started. The money will go toward living expenses for the family and RESPs for Evan's two brothers.

"This is definitely magical, but also overwhelming on the same note," Wellwood said.

To cap off the evening, Evan received a special visit from Santa Claus and got to take a ride in his sleigh-like parade float as onlookers clapped and cheered.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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