Christmas comes early for boy fighting rare brain cancer

IONIA, Mich. — Christmas is coming early for one local boy this year.

Five-year-old Peyton Dennis was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, DIPG, in February of this year. He has already outlived most doctors predictions for his life expectancy.

But family and friends of the boy are making sure he is around to experience all of his favorite parts of Christmas. His mom Katie Dennis, says the holiday is his absolute favorite.

“He loves to decorate the tree and he just loves seeing the decorations and he loves making gingerbread houses,” his mother said.

The project to celebrate Christmas early throughout the Ionia area was started by a young lady by the name of Tessa Charles. She read about Peyton’s story online and decided to help.

“I know Peyton really enjoys Christmas and I just thought why not? It’s really fun and I know it would make him happy,” Charles said.

On the family’s Facebook page, Our Cowboy Peyton Fighting DIPG, people from all over the country have sent in photos and videos of their decorations going up early in celebration of Peyton.

Officer Mike Cronk with the Ionia Department of Public Safety, saw Charles' efforts online and wanted to help himself.

“When she spearheaded the drive to get lights up, yeah that was definitely the right thing to do in the situation,” he said. “Ionia is really built on support. There is no doubt this community is loving and they want to give back. There is nothing better than to feel loved by the community.”

GoFundMe has been started by a family friend to help the family through this difficult time financially.

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