Lucas “Bear” Cervone will be laid to rest on what would have been his 6th birthday.
The 5-year-old Chicago boy battling incurable cancer passed away Sunday, after his request for birthday cards made headlines across the country and inspired thousands to send their messages of support.
“We needed to take a break from reading cards,” his family wrote late Tuesday night on a Facebook page in Lucas’ honor. “We’ve been reading since about 430pm this afternoon and it’s almost midnight. We’ve only gotten through about 5,000 cards and I can’t even begin to guess how many more we still have to go through.”
A visitation with immediate family and close friends will take place Saturday from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Cumberland Chapels, located at 8300 W. Lawrence Ave. in Norridge. A service will follow at Acacia Park Cemetery.
Friends and supporters will be able to assemble along the funeral procession route by 2:45 p.m. on Irving Park Rd. east of Cumberland Avenue, and near the cemetery entrance at 7800 W. irving Park Rd.
“Lucas ‘Bear’ loved bubbles and balloons and his favorite color is orange. Please show your support with bubbles and a release of your balloons when the procession passes by,” his obituary read Wednesday.
Lucas was first diagnosed with pediatric leukemia in August 2012.
"He fought through three very long years and very intensive years of treatment and he won, he beat it," said Lucas' father, Anthony Cervone, in an interview this week.
But a short time later, he was diagnosed with another form of cancer, this one incurable. After a stem cell transplant in November 2015 and months in the hospital overcoming viruses, Lucas returned home to celebrate Christmas with his older brother, Franco, in February.
Then, just a few weeks ago, the Cervone family received the news it had been dreading: doctors found an incurable tumor near Lucas' heart.
The Cervone family then focused on making Lucas' remaining days his happiest.
Lucas loved to read cards and received 500 letters from well-wishers for Christmas. His family reached out to supporters to try and surpass that number of his birthday.
That call was heard around the world, with hundreds of people, including 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter, joining in to send cards to Lucas.
Lucas spent much of his final days reading some of the many cards he received and was given one last birthday party the day before his death.
While the cards continue to arrive in the days following Lucas’ passing, the Cervone family says the outpouring of support has helped them in this painful time.
“What I can say is that the effort, honesty and love that came from the cards had been incredible,” the post read. “We needed to read these tonight and we want to thank you for everything. In this immensely painful time many of your cards caused belly laughter in the room. Thank you world.”