It all began so simply. Nicole Wellwood noticed that her young son Evan Leversage had a lazy eye, which ran in her family. Doctors weren’t concerned until they ran a CT and saw a brain tumour in the worst possible location. She went through denial, upset, anguish, and then did what was needed to be done. Treatment began in October, 2010 – Evan had just turned two the month before. Every Wednesday for the next seventy-two weeks Evan received chemotherapy. And it seemed to be working – the tumour didn’t grow. Until it did. In September, 2014. Evan began having issues with movement, and weakness in his arms and legs. So the treatments started up again. Three weeks after starting Grade Two, Evan’s brain tumour began to grow again, and this time branched out. Nicole and her family were told there was nothing that could be done. They made a wish list of things Evan wanted to do before he died – eat at his favourite restaurants, watch his favourite movies, and celebrate Christmas one more time.
Planning to have their early Christmas on October 19th – two weeks after the diagnosis, Nicole and her family arrived home to find that her cousin Shelley sent out a notice requested that their neighbours and local businesses put up Christmas lights and decorations two months early. What followed was unbelievable.
Soon, the entire town of St. George, ON – known as The Friendly Village – became the Caring Village. Santa and his parade came early and word spread like wildfire. Requests to have floats in the parade came in front across North America. The parade took place on October 24th right in front of Nicole’s house, and Santa invited Evan to ride on his float during the parade. Evan died peacefully a few weeks later in his mother’s arms on December 6, 2015.
Moved by Evan’s story, Mississauga author Eric Walters, widely known for his middle-grade and YA books for children decided he needed to write about Evan’s experience, calling it a “passion project”. Written with Nicole Wellwood, and illustrated by Halifax-based artist Carloe Liu, The Boy Who Moved Christmas, published by Nimbus Publishing, is now available. Robert Munsch, one of Evan’s favourite children’s authors, called the book “a wonderful story.” Capturing Evan’s experience in a heartfelt, magical tone, the book is available for order through bookstores everywhere. “I’ll never forget how a whole town came together to help make a dream come true for one little boy,” says Nicole Wellwood. “Throughout the town, across the country, and even internationally people opened up their hearts to make his last wish come true.”
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