Ethan Van Leuven won the hearts of his Utah community, who earlier this month rallied to help him celebrate Halloween, Christmas, and his birthday, all within the span of a few days.
This week, the boy lost his battle with cancer, which he had since just before his second birthday. Ethan’s dad, Merrill Van Leuven, announced early Tuesday morning that his son had died.
“To all our dear friends, our little Ethan passed away this morning at 10:20 a.m.,” Merrill wrote on his Facebook page, adding, “Ethan is at peace now and will no longer battle with disease. He has passed his mortal test and will return to live with Heavenly Father for eternity.”
Ethan Van Leuven was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 22-months-old. In recent weeks, doctors said the prognosis had worsened, giving Ethan “two days to a couple of weeks,” according to Merrill Van Leuven.
Ethan’s parents decided to fill his final days with happy moments, allowing him to celebrate Halloween a few weeks early. People in Ethan’s hometown of West Jordan, Utah, joined in, helping him to also celebrate Christmas and his birthday.
Ethan’s story made national headlines, and a Facebook page started to raise funds for Ethan and his family attracted well-wishers from around the world.
On Tuesday, Ethan’s mom Jen Van Leuven said she was grateful for all the work in making Ethan’s final days so special.
“We are so grateful for the blessing he has been to us in his short life, and the impact he was able to make on many people,” she wrote. “We are picturing Ethan happy and at peace. We are so grateful for the blessing of being a forever family, and look forward to the day when we can be with him again. Until then, rest in peace sweet Ethan.”
Those interested in the fundraiser for Ethan Van Leuven and his family can find it here.
[Image via Facebook]