Devin Kohlman and his family recently learned that the aggressive form of cancer he is suffering from will take his life in a matter of weeks. The 13-year-old thought that he would never get to fulfill a promise he made to himself: celebrate Christmas. Thanks to friends, family, and kindhearted strangers in his Ohio town, the dying boy got to celebrate his favorite holiday two months early.
"We want Devin to have the best Christmas that he's ever had. And we want to make sure that he has Christmas," Devin's mom, Alexis, told reporters. “I've never seen anything like it. We're really thankful.”
Devin was diagnosed with the deadly type of brain cancer a little over a year ago and has been battling it ever since. Chemotherapy treatments to remove a tumor in his brain were deemed ineffective, and the Kohlman family was informed that the eighth grader would only have a couple of weeks to live.
This past Sunday night, Devin returned home from a Cincinnati hospital to find the surprise of a lifetime waiting outside of his apartment. Residents of his town, Port Clinton, gathered outside of his home to kick off a Christmas parade complete with caroling and balloons. People even dressed in red and green, and some decorated their houses in the holiday spirit.
"I'm really glad that everyone came out here because [Devin's] probably sitting in there with a really big smile on his face, happy that everyone came out here," said Devin's classmate, Morgan McLaughlin. "I'm glad to know he's probably really happy right now."
Sunday night’s festivities definitely put a smile on Devin’s face, but he would soon find out that it was only Christmas Eve. On Monday morning, more of Port Clinton’s good Samaritans gathered at a local park adjacent to Devin’s apartment window. Volunteers donating their own time and resources were able to turn the park into a real-life winter wonderland.
After decorating Devin’s home, carolers took to the park to put an enormous Christmas tree up, accompanied by a star that read “Merry Christmas Devin.” The local Wal-Mart even agreed to donate Devin’s Christmas presents free of charge. All of Devin’s holiday dreams culminated when Santa Claus showed up on a motorcycle with members of the local Lost Riders motorcycle club.
“Hey, you guys, Santa Claus on a motorcycle got the biggest smile I’ve seen in a while,” Alexis told the crowd from the apartment window.