WICHITA, Kan. – Christmas trees are popping up in a small Kansas town as residents prepare to celebrate the holiday early for a 3-year-old boy with terminal cancer.
Lebo residents will celebrate Christmas on Sunday as a tribute to Christian Risner, who was placed in hospice care last month, the Wichita Eagle reported .
Christian, who graduated from preschool on Thursday, has Rhabdoid kidney cancer, which has created tumors in his kidneys and lungs. Doctors say he has less than three months to live.
His hometown in southern Kansas has rallied around him. Santa will make an appearance during Sunday's events, brining toys to a community potluck hosted by the Lebo Baptist Church. A horse-drawn sleigh will take Christian to look at the array of trees and holiday lights residents and businesses put up around town.
"He loves Christmas and we have told him Christmas comes on Sunday," said his mother, Sarah Risner.
Lebo resident Kelly Freund said she saw Christian's struggles in fighting cancer and wanted to help. She said the idea of ensuring he sees one more Christmas "has taken off like wildfire."
"I have gotten so many messages from people from so many different states. It's pictures of people putting Christmas trees up in support of Christian," she said.
A silent auction will take place at the church Sunday, with proceeds going to help with the family's medical expenses.
Richard Odum, pastor at the church, said was moved watching Christian's fight over the last year and half with an incurable cancer, adding: "It is a hard deal to know he is hurting."
Christian went into hospice after undergoing a procedure that drained 16 ounces of fluid from his lungs.
"Some days are good, some aren't," Risner said. "I don't know why God has chosen my child. I accept he needs him more than I need him, and I don't like it. But I am grateful I get to be his mom."
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com