Funeral underway for Evan Leversage, whose town gave him an early Christmas parade

ST. GEORGE, Ont. - A funeral is underway for Evan Leversage, a terminally-ill southern Ontario boy whose wish to see another Christmas prompted his community to stage an early Santa Claus parade.

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Seven-year-old Evan died at a Brantford, Ont., hospice on Sunday in the arms of his mother - Nicole Wellwood.

Evan was from St. George, a small community north of Brantford and suffered from an inoperable brain tumour.

Doctors told his family this year that they weren't sure if he would live to see this Christmas, so St. George put on an early Christmas parade in October, complete with artificial snow strewn around Evan's home.

The boy got to hop onto Santa's sleigh and ride with him through the streets of St. George with thousands of townspeople looking on.

Evan was admitted to the hospice on Nov. 4 and his family maintained a vigil at his bedside until his death.

"One of Evan's favourite highlights during his stay at the hospice was the day that staff wheeled his bed into the family room so that he could direct the volunteer firefighters who were putting together the huge 12-foot Christmas tree," a statement on the hospice's Facebook page said.

"Evan took great pride in telling them where to put each decoration on that tree and also enjoyed a special visit from Santa."

Evan's story attracted international attention with people reaching out from as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom.

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada joined with his family earlier this year to launch a fundraising campaign to support research into childhood brain cancer.


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