Sick child celebrates Halloween, holidays early before dying
West Jordan, UT (KSTU) -- A 4-year-old West Jordan boy lost his battle to leukemia Tuesday, but not before his family and community gave him the week of a lifetime.
Last week Ethan Van Leuven's family learned that Ethan's battle with acute lympho-blastic leukemia was coming to an end.
They weren't sure if he would make it to the holidays so they, along with the entire neighborhood, decided to bring the holidays to him.
The community trick-or-treated, celebrated Christmas and held a superhero-themed birthday party all in the same week to make sure Ethan's last days were full of joy.
"He has left a legacy with this neighborhood and we're glad to be living in this neighborhood with his family still and we'll support them any way we can," said neighbor Shelair Gage.
Gage was one of dozens of residents to decorate their homes for Christmas, in mid-October.
"We put Christmas lights up and we have lived here 17 years and never had Christmas lights all the way across the front of our house," said neighbor Gigi Johansen.
Johansen said by celebrating all of Ethan's favorite holidays, it brought the best out in the entire neighborhood.
"Oh he's been a part of our family for the last couple years because this neighborhood has been following this that long, when he was in Seattle and the family split apart because he needed the treatment," Johansen said.
The neighbors said Ethan's constant enthusiasm was contagious.
"His little spirit that he just gave to all of us, he just made us feel so happy and made us glad to be a part of him," Gage said.
Ethan's father Merrill Van Leuven thanked everyone for their support in a statement which said, "We are so grateful that each of you has helped in some way along this journey. Ethan is at peace now and will no longer battle with disease."
A charitable account has been set up at Cyprus Credit Union for donations #269992 to the family. For more information on the account, click here or here.