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The Beautiful Way a Community Brought Magic to a Dying Child’s Final Days

Ethan Van Leuven, from West Jordan, Utah, lost his battle with leukemia yesterday morning, according to his mother’s Facebook page. In his final days, the 4-year-old managed to touch the lives of hundreds of people.

We are so grateful for the blessing he has been to us in his short life and the impact he was able to make on many people,” his mother, Jennifer Van Leuven, wrote on Facebook. “We are so grateful for the support we have received, and the blessing all of you have been to our family.”

Ethan’s community dropped everything to put on a week-long celebration of all his favorite holidays, culminating in an early Christmas celebration on October 24, according to KSL News.

First the town celebrated Halloween on Tuesday so Ethan could trick-or-treat the neighborhood, then they had a birthday party for him, including a 100-person parade on Thursday, and finally they celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas on Friday and Saturday.

You are our hero,” police officer Aaron Rosen said over his police car’s loudspeaker at the head of the birthday parade. “Thank you for being a part of our lives, Ethan. Our hero.”

Everyone got involved, with a local radio station playing Christmas music, people decorating their houses with Christmas lights and 150 people showing up for caroling on the Van Leuven’s front lawn.

Watch more in the video below:

It was a magical way to celebrate what would be Ethan’s last week with his family.

“We have seen more miracles than we can count as we go down this road of cancer. We have seen more generosity to the point of feeling overwhelmed with gratitude,” reads Ethan’s blog. “There are many good people in this world.”

Ethan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, cancer of the blood and bone marrowwhen he was 22 months old. It’s the most common type of cancer in children, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Ethan underwent intensive chemotherapy for a year, and then maintenance chemo (lower intensity) for a year before he relapsed, according to his blog. Even with additional experimental treatments, Ethan’s cancer was uncontrollable.


Ethan passed away on Tuesday, October 28.

In his short time here on earth Ethan touched our hearts, inspired our spirits and brought us joy,” his Facebook page reads. “Until we meet again, Little Warrior.”

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