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Community stages Christmas for boy, 3, with cancer

Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 17:59:18-04

TOPEKA, KS (WIBW/CNN) - In a small Kansas town, residents came together to help a 3-year-old boy celebrate an early Christmas. It was a holiday celebration that some fear may be the child's last.

Santa Claus didn't have to check his list, or even twice, because he knew who he was visiting on Sunday was especially nice. He made a special stop in Lebo, KS, with gifts in hand, for 3-year-old Christian Risner. He has been diagnosed with rhabdoid kidney cancer.

He was given about three months to live, according to doctors last month. "We got to where we were about to about two months away from being done with the treatments, and it metastasized into his lungs,” father Josh Risner said. 

The family said there were treatments to prolong his life, but they wanted him to experience being a kid, away from the hospital. “We wanted him to be like this - with hair, (and) no ng (nasogastric) tube. Living a normal 3-year-old's life. Enjoying time with his family," Josh Risner said. 

When the community found out the diagnosis, that's when they moved into action. 

Kelly Freund started working on Christmas for Christian, and it grew. Businesses started donating items for the silent auctions, and homes started to glow with Christmas lights. People came together to help the family.

With a silent auction, a horse-drawn carriage ride to see all the lights, and a community meal for everyone, the family couldn't be more grateful.

"It blows my mind. When he got sick, this community, it helped out tremendously,” Josh Risner said.  And the community said they did it with hope in their hearts that there will be a Christmas miracle for little Christian. 

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