Town holds 'Christmas in October' for terminally ill boy
After Evan Wellwood's family received bad news about his condition, they decided to bring Christmas forward – and then thousands of people got involved
For one young boy in Canada, Christmas is coming early this year.
Seven-year-old Evan Wellwood has battled an inoperable brain tumour for the past five years. Despite extensive chemotherapy treatment, his condition has deteriorated in the past six months, with the tumour spreading to new parts of his brain.
"Recently Evan’s mom received the news that he will not be with us much longer," Evan's cousin wrote on a GoFundMe page.
Worried that Evan would not get to enjoy Christmas properly in December, his family decided to bring the Yuletide festivities forward, to October 24.
As news has spread of the plan, thousands of members from the town of St. George in Ontario have come forward to add a sense of community spirit to the occasion.
A Facebook page was set up to publicise the event – and almost three thousand people have already confirmed their attendance.
“You look out our front window, the entire street is lit up,” Evan’s mother Nicole Wellwood told CBC. “Everywhere you look it’s Christmas. It’s more than I could have imagined.
“When Evan looks out his window, the backyard is decorated and there’s a sign saying ‘Merry Christmas.’”
On the day, a local restaurant will host Evan's family for dinner. Later, a parade of 25 specially made floats will pass by his family home.
Evan can also expect to receive a lot of gifts from Father Christmas, as the Facebook page has been inundated with offers of presents since it was set up.
"His question is 'Why?'," Ms Wellwood said. "My answer is: 'Because you have a whole town that loves you'."
The story of Evan's early Christmas is now spreading on Twitter via the hashtag #lightsonforevan.
Yesterday, Justin Bieber's father, Jeremy, used the tag to tweet his support for the cause, writing "To my littlest hero Evan Leversage of St. George ON. Merry Christmas bud'. #lightsonforevan".
To my littlest hero Evan Leversage of St. George ON. Merry Christmas bud'. #lightsonforevan— Jeremy Bieber (@JeremyBieber) October 22, 2015