An Ohio town rang in Christmas early this year for a young boy diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
After noticing he had trouble balancing and was having dizzy spells in May, Brody Allen’s parents took him to the visit the doctor.
Scans showed that the two-year-old had had a rare form of brain cancer that starts in the womb, with tumors spanning from his brain to his spinal cord.
After trying multiple treatments, doctors told the Allens last month that the cancer was spreading even further and their son likely wouldn’t make it to the end of the year.
So the family decided to celebrate December 25 early and asked their neighborhood of Colerain Township for help.
Residents strung Christmas lights up on their homes, delivered presents and cards to the Allen house, and even held a parade on Sunday so Brody could meet Santa Claus.
The town of Colerain Township, Ohio, rang in Christmas early this year for Brody Allen, two, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Pictured: Brody celebrating Christmas
Brody’s parents, Todd and Shilo, say he was a normal toddler who was active until he began having trouble balancing in May. Pictured: Brody with his mother Shilo and his father Todd at the Chrismtas Parade on Sunday
Scans revealed Brody had one tumor wrapped around his brain stem, two in the lower part of the brain and one in his lower spine. Pictured: A snow globe with people dressed in TEAM BRODY sweaters at the Christmas parade
Brody’s parents, Todd and Shilo, say Brody was a normal toddler who was active and hitting all of his developmental milestones.
In May of this year, they noticed he had developed some dizziness and had trouble balancing, so they took him to the doctor.
They were never prepared for the shocking news that Brody had an extremely rare form of brain cancer: Embryonal Tumor with Multilayered Rosettes (ETMR).
It is a subtype of embryonal tumors of the central nervous system, which begin in embryonic, or fetal, cells that remain in the brain after birth.
ETMRs form in the cerebrum – the largest part of the brain located at the front of the skull – the brain stem or the spinal cord.
Brody had one tumor wrapped around his brain stem, two in the lower part of the brain and one in his lower spine.
Symptoms include trouble walking, loss of balance, lack of coordination, headaches and double vision.
These tumors typically occur among children before age three or four.
Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s told parents Todd and Shilo that due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, they were unable to stop its growth. Brody (left and right) was given no more than two months to live
When the Allen family learned this, they decided to celebrate Christmas in September so Brody could spend one last holiday with them. Pictured: Brody with four of his five siblings
Standard treatment involves surgery to remove most or all of the tumor followed by radiation therapy and high-dose chemotherapy.
According to the National Cancer Institute, prognosis is generally poor and five-year survival rates fall between zero percent and 30 percent.
A recent article found that 75 percent of cases had died an average of nine months post diagnosis.
After his diagnosis, Brody was admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where doctors told his parents he would remain for a minimum of seven months to receive treatment.
However, last month, the doctors told Todd and Shilo that due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, they were unable to stop its growth.
They said that Brody likely had no more than two months to live.
When the Allen family learned this, they decided to celebrate Christmas in September so Brody could spend one last holiday with them.
They posted on Facebook, asking for help. Little did they know the whole community would turn out in support.
Residents of Colerain Township decorated their homes and lawns in Christmas lights, wreaths and decorations.
Presents and cards were delivered to the Allen home and, on Sunday, people dressed in holiday sweaters and Santa hats lined the main street to attend ‘Brody’s Superhero Christmas Parade’.
Christmas music played as Brody rode on a float dressed as Superman and Santa Claus greeted spectators from atop a firetruck.
Presents and cards were delivered to the Allen home and, on Sunday, people dressed in holiday sweaters and Santa hats lined the main street to attend ‘Brody’s Superhero Christmas Parade’. Pictured: Brody, left, and with his father Todd, right
Christmas carols were sung on the street as neighbors held signs saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Team Brody’
Reindeer and elf costumes were provided by the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, singers came from Crossroads West Side church and local radio station WARM 98.5 took photos
‘He was so happy,’ Brody’s sister, McKenzie Allen, told WCPO. ‘It was amazing. Not just for him, but for everybody.’
Reindeer and elf costumes were provided by the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, singers came from Crossroads West Side church and local radio station WARM 98.5 took photos.
‘The Allen family knew that we were coming, but they were shocked when we showed up with hundreds of people,’ Crossroads West Side church pastor Matt Castleman told CNN.
Brian Demay, the program director at WARM 98.5, said that his station also got into the holiday spirit.
‘We decided to play one Christmas song per hour with a shout out to Brody before every song, to help him celebrate with his family a little early,’ he told CNN.
Brody’s father Todd thanked everybody at the end of the event.
‘It made his day. It made everybody’s day. We’re grateful to everyone for coming out and giving our family a huge hug,’ he said, according to WCPO.
The Allen family said they privately celebrated Christmas Eve on Monday and Christmas Day on Tuesday
A GoFundMe page has been created by Brody’s family to help cover medical costs.
So far, more than $41,700 has been raised out of a $50,000 goal.