When a boy's doctors said he might not live through December, his town moved Christmas to October.

This was what downtown St. George, Ontario, looked like ... on Oct. 24.

Photograph: Patrick McEachern, used with permission.


The small Canadian town rallied together to celebrate Christmas early for 7-year-old Evan Leversage, who has been fighting a terminal brain tumor for most of his life.

Evan, with Santa. Photograph: Patrick McEachern, used with permission.

When word came from Evan's doctors that he would most likely not survive until Dec. 25, Evan's family planned to hold a small, family Christmas on Oct. 19.

The decision to throw a full-on, community-wide early Christmas party began when Evan's cousin Shelly Wellwood went into town to ask business owners if they wouldn't mind putting their holiday lights up a little early.

Brandy King, a local florist and business owner, posted Wellwood's request to Facebook, where it went viral and resulted in hundreds of offers to help Evan's family celebrate.

"They were overwhelmed by the support," King told Upworthy.

So on Oct. 24, the town held a huge Christmas parade for Evan.

The early Christmas came complete with snow, colored lights, dozens of floats, and, of course, Santa Claus.

And SpongeBob. Photograph: Ida Adamowicz, used with permission.

According to King, over 7,000 people showed up to celebrate with Evan — in a town of only 3,000. More than 240 people, businesses, and other groups offered to make floats, which would have made it bigger than the Macy's parade (it was ultimately pared down to 25, which is what the town's streets could accommodate).

Evan even got to ride in Santa's sleigh.

"It was a bit like walking in a dream," King said. "It was such a short period of time from initially seeing the poster to having this beautiful parade with thousands of people showing up. It certainly restores your hope and faith in humanity to see that kind of outpouring of support."

Photograph: Patrick McEachern, used with permission.

As Evan's story spread, help and well-wishes continued to pour in — even from outside of St. George.

Evan's cousins launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover food and living expenses for Evan, his siblings, and parents. As of Oct. 27, 2015, it had surpassed $40,000 in donations.

Meanwhile, Evan's family is incredibly grateful to their community for throwing an unforgettable Christmas for their son, brother, and cousin.

Photograph: Patrick McEachern, used with permission.

King, who helped organize the event, believes that in times of crisis, people come together and rise to the challenge — they just sometimes need to be asked.

"What I hope that people will realize is that everyone has their own village," King said. "Even if you live in a big city, the borough that you live in is your village, and start treating people like your neighbors again."

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."