published Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Ohio town creates early Christmas for ailing boy

In this Oct. 28, 2013 photo, members of the Port CLinton, Ohio community pause for a moment of silence during a ceremony for Devin Kohlman outside his home. Kohlman, who has been battling an aggressive form of cancer, wanted to return home for Christmas.
In this Oct. 28, 2013 photo, members of the Port CLinton, Ohio community pause for a moment of silence during a ceremony for Devin Kohlman outside his home. Kohlman, who has been battling an aggressive form of cancer, wanted to return home for Christmas.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — A northern Ohio community is decking the halls to provide an early Christmas for an ailing boy with cancer who said he wanted to be home for the holiday.

As some towns readied for Halloween trick-or-treaters, the Christmas cheer was in high gear in Port Clinton on Wednesday despite 60-degree weather. Dozens of supporters gathered near 13-year-old Devin Kohlman's apartment as several tons of shaved ice was used to mimic drifting snow outside his window, and someone on a lift sprinkled the ice down in front of the glass.

It was the latest in the efforts to fulfill Devin's wish since he returned home from a hospital Sunday. The city on the bank of Lake Erie put up a tall Christmas tree within view of the apartment where the teen is resting, and residents decorated the park. Up went colorful strings of lights, reindeer cutouts and a red "Merry Christmas Devin" sign.

"It brings tears to my eyes," the city's safety-service director, Tracy Colston, told the Port Clinton News-Herald.

Hundreds of people, some in Santa hats, gathered to sing Christmas carols on Monday, and Santa himself even showed up — on a motorcycle.

"Santa Claus on a motorcycle got the biggest smile I've seen in a while," Devin's mother, Alexis Kohlman, told the crowd, according to the newspaper.

Supporters gathered again on Tuesday night, candles in hand, to pray for the boy as he watched from the window and later waved.

Seeing so many supporters outside his home this week has been very encouraging for the eighth-grader, his mother said.

"We want Devin to have the best Christmas that he's ever had," she told Toledo's WTOL-TV, which reported that Devin has aggressive brain cancer and a bleak prognosis. "And we want to make sure that he has Christmas."

She told the station that she'd never seen such a community response.

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