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Sick Boy Who Got Town-wide Early Christmas Dies

Port Clinton made sure dying Devin Kohlman got his own holiday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 13, 2013 7:17 AM CST

(Newser) – A boy whose last wish was to be home for Christmas has died, two weeks after his hometown welcomed him with a festive tree outside his window and a motorcycle-riding Santa Claus. Doctors had told the family of 13-year-old Devin Kohlman that he didn't have long to live so hundreds of residents in the Ohio city of Port Clinton spent the past few weeks giving him an early Christmas. They sang carols outside the family's apartment, piled shaved ice into drifting snow near his window, and decorated a park with lights, reindeer cutouts, and a red "Merry Christmas, Devin" sign. "It brought him a sense of joy to know so many people cared," says a family friend.

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Devin, who suffered from brain cancer, died Monday afternoon. Relatives and friends gathered for a vigil after his death while an early-season snow fell. "He had the gift of being able to see how much everyone loved him," says his mom, Alexis Kohlman. Devin was flown from Cincinnati, where he was being treated, to Port Clinton on Oct. 27 so that he could spend his final days at home. Residents filled the city's main street late at night as Devin was driven home with a police escort. While he couldn't go outside, he could see from a window how the community was making his last wish come true. Thousands of cards from as far away as France, Australia, and Russia filled the family's apartment. "We read as many of the cards as we could to him," his mother says. "He's reminded everybody all over the world of what's important and that's love." (Read more Christmas stories.)

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