A 5-year-old Chicago boy whose plight prompted hundreds of strangers to send him birthday cards has lost his fight against cancer, his family announced.
Lucas Cervone, affectionately known as “Bear” to his family, celebrated his May 7 birthday on Saturday, because his parents were afraid he wouldn’t live to see the real date.
The boy died Sunday evening, relatives said on Facebook. “He is cancer-free and no longer in pain,” his father, Anthony, posted.
Lucas' family posted this video in February when the boy left the hospital.
The Cervones asked for privacy as they grieve.
Lucas, who had battle cancer most of his young life, had endured many types of treatment since being diagnosed with leukemia as a toddler. The boy underwent radiation, chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and chemical paralysis.
To surprise their son, and to show him how much love is in the world, his parents asked people to send birthday cards to Lucas. They hoped for 500. They got far more – one local school sent 550 cards to the boy. A UPS store holding onto the cards for the family ran out of room.
Lucas after arriving home from the hospital in February
The boy had been opening some of the cards over the weekend.
"We have talked to Bear about the end and it seems he understands what is to come," his dad posted before the boy died. "That has been the hardest conversation we have ever had in our lives, I think.”