Two-year-old boy with deadly cancer gets an early Christmas from his neighbours

Shilo Allen holding her son Brody, 2, on Friday outside their home in the suburbs of Cincinnati. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Five weeks ago, Brody Allen's parents were told that their two-year-old son's rare form of brain cancer meant he had two months to live.

The boy's family realised that he probably wouldn't be able to enjoy one more Christmas. So they decided to celebrate early, putting up a tree and decorations, and their Ohio neighbourhood followed suit.

"In his mind, it is just Christmas," said McKenzie Allen, 21, Brody's sister.

"He woke up one day and the Christmas tree was out. He doesn't know it isn't really Christmas. He is just enjoying it."

Brody's health has deteriorated so that he no longer has the energy of a toddler or the use of his left arm and left leg. He likes to be outside, so he often sits in a red Radio Flyer wagon, a blanket thrown over him and a hoodie pulled over his head, while his siblings pull him around their neighbourhood in Colerain Township, a suburb of Cincinnati.

There he can see an inflatable Minnie and Mickey Mouse, a snowman, Santa Claus and a Christmas tree on the yard of Barbara Elliott, a neighbour whose home is one of six in the Allens' cul-de-sac that has been decorated for Brody.

Brody's family first learned he was sick after he complained in May about being dizzy; a doctor said it was probably an ear infection. The family was sent to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre for further tests, which revealed that Brody had four embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes.

Hundreds of Christmas cards have been delivered to Brody. PHOTO: NYTIMES

The hospital, which has helped pay medical bills that Medicaid does not cover, gave Brody the most aggressive chemotherapy treatment it could.

It was not effective. One of Brody's tumors grew by 30 per cent, and he developed a fifth tumour in his brain. Using radiation to treat the tumours was not an option because Brody was too small.

There were no other options for Brody. So the family set out to keep him happy.

The Allens settled on having Christmas in September for Brody, but soon realised they needed more decorations. There aren't many for sale in September, so they started a Facebook page called Team Brody and asked neighbours for help.

The community is now planning a Christmas parade for Brody.

The parade is scheduled for Sept 23 and will feature Santa Claus in a fire truck, carol singers and superheroes. Some people just want to drive their cars in the procession.

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