Funeral held for Ontario boy, 7, whose town gave him an early Christmas parade

Evan Leversage, a terminally ill southern Ontario boy whose wish to see another Christmas prompted his community to stage an early Santa Claus parade was laid to rest Thursday.

ST. GEORGE, Ont. — Evan Leversage, a terminally ill southern Ontario boy whose wish to see another Christmas prompted his community to stage an early Santa Claus parade was laid to rest Thursday.

Pastor Steve Barna told family and friends in attendance at the ceremony in St. George, Ont., that Evan also touched the lives of those across the world, including some notable figures.

Barna says Ashton Kutcher gave a shout out to Evan on Facebook and wished him Merry Christmas and Gov. Gen. David Johnston wrote a personal letter to the seven-year-old as a word of encouragement to him.

Evan, who suffered from an inoperable brain tumour, died at a Brantford, Ont., hospice on Sunday in the arms of his mother — Nicole Wellwood.

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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