I was born on Christmas, so I’m one of those people who enjoys spreading year-round yuletide cheer. I also love when a person comes along who is so inspiring, they completely restore my faith in humanity. Thankfully for me, this story has both.
Meet Brody Allen, one of the cutest kids on the planet. He’s 2 years old, lives in Ohio, and loves Christmas as much as I do.
There’s also one thing about Brody that basically makes him a real-life superhero. This courageous toddler has spent his entire life battling a rare form of brain cancer.
Over the past year, Brody has survived the most intense chemotherapy a tiny body can handle. Unfortunately, the treatments only made his condition worse, and now he’s fighting against five persistent tumors in his brain stem and on his spine.
“Due to the tumors, Brody has lost almost all function to his left arm and leg, [and] he cannot walk anymore,” his mom, Shilo Allen, tells Babble. “His speech has also become slurred, due to the placement and pressure of the tumors.”
In August, Brody’s parents were given news that no family should ever have to receive. His medical team informed them that their little boy has only two months left to live.
Realizing that their son’s time was extremely limited, Brody’s mom and dad decided to focus on bringing him as much joy as possible in his final days.
“He loved Christmas last year, especially the Christmas lights,” Shilo says. “Knowing he wouldn’t make it to see everything, we decided to bring Christmas to him.”
The Allens originally set out to make their home shine inside and out with holiday trimmings and enjoy some family traditions with their son.
“We’ve celebrated Christmas with lots of Christmas movies, lights, and he opens up presents every few days,” Shilo says.
The Allens also took to Facebook to ask around for some extra Christmas decorations, offering to pay anyone who could lend them any. What they ended up experiencing, however, was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
As neighbors around town began to learn about Brody, they decided to join in the holiday fun. Families all over began donating decorations, and many people have taken to putting up lights on their houses. Now, as Brody is taken through his neighborhood, he gets to experience a real-life winter wonderland.
Shilo and Todd are completely overwhelmed by the love and support they’ve received from their local community, along with the gifts and holiday cards that have poured in from folks all around the world.
“It brings tears of joy to our eyes to know that so many people could care for Brody and want to make him smile as much as we do,” his mom says. “It’s crazy that complete strangers are becoming our rock during this difficult time, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. They give us strength.”
Brody’s big sister Mckenzie is also so grateful to give her brother a chance to enjoy his favorite holiday.
“Celebrating Christmas early has been so great,” she says. “I love seeing him so happy and getting to share these special moments with him, no matter how small.”
This Sunday, Brody has a particularly special surprise arriving his way. A Christmas parade has been organized in his honor by the entire neighborhood, and it will include superheroes, carolers, and — of course! — Santa Claus.
“Brody doesn’t know about the parade just yet, but he’s going to be so surprised,” his mom shares. “It’s filled with all his favorite things. My heart is so full knowing everyone is coming together to give him the world.”
Adding to the love is Brody’s medical team, who have become like a second family to him. The toddler has received ongoing treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital from the time of his diagnosis, and the staff has been one of his biggest cheerleaders.
“They were there for us through everything and even crying right there with us during the hard parts,” Shilo says. “Cincinnati Children’s has some amazing people working there, and if it weren’t for their support, I don’t know how we would’ve gotten through the bad days.”
Brody’s parents have one major piece of advice to offer any families dealing with a terminally ill child. It’s something that has not only helped them cope with their son’s challenges, but has allowed Brody to thrive during a very painful time.
“Just focus on putting a smile on your child’s face, especially on the tough days,” they offered. “It doesn’t seem like much, but it can really change things — not just for your children, but for you as well.”
The entire team at Babble wishes Brody and his family a very Merry Christmas.