To cheer a dying little boy who may never see another holiday, an entire town in Canada is celebrating Christmas on Saturday.
Seven-year-old Evan Wellwood of St. George, Ontario, has been fighting a tumor devouring his brain since he was two. It took a while for doctors to realize what was wrong. He had a lazy eye. When other babies were babbling, Evan was silent.
A CT scan identified the growth a few days before his second birthday. After massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy, the tumor seemed to have been cowed. It was growing, but very slowly.
Fast-forward to earlier this year. A new scan showed the tumor was expanding at an astonishing speed.
“In one night, his arm didn’t work and his leg didn’t work,” his mother, Nicole, told INSIDE EDITION. “He was falling down and bumping into walls,” she said, losing a battle to fight back tears.
From February to April, he was dosed 30 times, simultaneously, with chemo and radiation therapy.
But still the beast grew.
Not long ago, the doctors told her that if there was anything on Evan’s bucket list — anything they wanted to do or celebrate — the time was now.
And so Christmas was moved to Saturday.
Wellwood’s cousin set up a Facebook page a few days ago, asking residents to put up their Christmas lights early. And the residents of St. George, Ontario, did. The small town glows at night, and a parade is planned for Saturday that will end at the Evan’s front door.
The boy and his friends will be given a tour of the city in a police car. “He is very much looking forward to that,” said Wellwood, a single mother with two other sons — nine-year-old Logan and five-year-old Tyson.
Nearly 4,000 people have pledged to march in the parade. A gofundme page has raised nearly $20,000 in six days to help Wellwood with Evan’s staggering medical bills.
“It’s very overwhelming, really,” she said. “I had someone from England call me today.”
But reality intrudes.
“The doctors have told him there is no more medicine that can help,” she said, the tears coming again.
“They explained to him that ‘Your mommy is sad because your bump is growing. It has played a very bad trick on you.’
“He asks ‘Why do I have cancer? Why can’t they treat me?’ It’s very difficult to explain that to a seven-year-old.”
Evan can’t walk well and his speech is deteriorating, his mother said.
“He’s a fighter. He’s always been like that. He said ‘I’ll do more radiation.’ And the doctors had to explain to him that no, there is no more radiation that can help.”
Wellwood tries to stay strong for her son. His brothers are bewildered by Evan’s rapidly worsening health.
Evan just wishes he could be a healthy, seven-year-old boy, she said.
“It’s a journey that is inevitably going to come to an end. He is very lost about that.”