September 16, 2018


2-Year-Old Boy With Deadly Cancer Gets an Early Christmas From His Neighbors (Sandra E. Garcia, Sept. 15, 2018, NY Times)

Five weeks ago, Brody Allen's parents were told that their 2-year-old son's rare form of brain cancer meant he had two months to live.

The boy's family realized that he probably wouldn't be able to enjoy one more Christmas. So they decided to celebrate early, putting up a tree and decorations, and their Ohio neighborhood followed suit.

"In his mind it is just Christmas," said McKenzie Allen, 21, Brody's sister. "He woke up one day and the Christmas tree was out. He doesn't know it isn't really Christmas. He is just enjoying it." [...]

The Allens settled on having Christmas in September for Brody, but soon realized they needed more decorations. There aren't many for sale in September, so they started a Facebook page called Team Brody and asked neighbors for help.

"I was willing to buy the decorations from them, but so many were donated," Mr. Allen said.

Ryan Simpson, 34, who said he is known as "the Christmas guy" among friends, was tagged in the Facebook group.

"When I showed up, I really did not know what I was getting myself into," he said.

Mr. Simpson appeared at the Allens' door with a plastic tote filled with lights and decorations, and helped the family decorate inside and out.

"When I showed up that day, Brody was outside in a red wagon and his sister was pulling him around," Mr. Simpson said. "I handed him a little gingerbread house with gumdrops on it, and it kind of spoke to him."

Mr. Simpson went back to the house to add more decorations four days in a row. He also helped neighbors decorate their houses.

"My next-door neighbor, who only speaks Spanish, took down all her fall stuff and put up snowflakes and poinsettias, and did garland on her fence and lights," Ms. Elliott said.

"When Brody saw it, he couldn't believe it," Mr. Simpson said. "He has been very animated."

People have also sent Brody gifts and snacks. He has a feeding tube, but he likes licking the sugar off sour straws and sipping blue Gatorade.

"We got 25 Christmas cards yesterday," Ms. Allen said.

The community is now planning a Christmas parade for Brody.

"We needed to get involved because he lives in our neighborhood," said Amanda Beckman, 34, who reached out to the Facebook group. "We just wanted to do something to make this really special for them, because they are going through a hard time."

Posted by at September 16, 2018 9:13 AM