When doctors told the family of 13-year-old Devin Kohlman that he didn’t have long to live, his entire town put on a Christmas party for him. The boy’s last wish was the be home in time for Christmas and residents of his hometown, who knew he may not make it.
They welcomed him with a festive tree outside his window and a motorcycle-riding Santa Claus. Although the Ohio city of Port Clinton along Lake Erie gave him an early Christmas, Kohlman unfortunately didn’t make it to see the actual Christmas Day. Devin, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in the summer of 2012, died Monday afternoon. Family and friends gathered for a vigil after his death.
The Christian Post has more on the party the town threw for Devin, who was flown from Cincinnati, where he was being treated, to Port Clinton in late October so he could spend his remaining days at home.
“We want Devin to have the best Christmas that he’s ever had, and we want to make sure that he has Christmas,” Alexis Kohlman, Devin’s mother, told Toledo News Now in late October.
The boy returned to his home with his family the night of October 27 to find most of the town outside of his apartment window, throwing an extravagant Christmas celebration for the boy that included a parade, carols, hot cocoa, a community prayer, Christmas music, a procession of emergency vehicles, and a snow play area built as part of a “winter wonderland” set up in the park directly outside of Kohlman’s bedroom window.
Although the boy wasn’t able to leave his bedroom, all of the events could be seen from his bedroom window, including the pinnacle of the celebration, when Santa Claus himself showed up at the festivities with a helper elf and several members of the Lost Riders motorcycle club. Local media outlets reported that almost the entire town showed up at the makeshift Christmas event for Kohlman, resulting in hundreds of people decorating the park and helping to make the boy’s last holiday a special one.
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“Hey, you guys, Santa Claus on a motorcycle got the biggest smile I’ve seen in a while,” Alexis Kohlman reportedly called out the window to the crowd after Santa Claus arrived on the scene, as reported by the Port Clinton News Herald. After parading around the park outside of Kohlman’s window, Santa paid a special visit to the boy.
“It brought him a sense of joy to know so many people cared,” family friend Roseann Hickman told local WUSA 9-TV. “He touched a lot of people. I hope our community continues to show the love for each other.”