The family of a boy battling incurable cancer is hoping the Chicago community can help give him a very special sixth birthday by sending cards in a show of support.
Lucas "Bear" Cervone, who lives in the city’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, 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.
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 finally returned home, celebrating 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.
"It has been decided that there are no further curative options," the family wrote April 25 on a Facebook page set up to support Lucas. "In simplest terms, there is nothing more we can do to fight this. We have started palliative chemo to attempt to slow the growth of the tumor. The tumor is wrapped around the pulmonary artery and is pressing on Lucas' heart."
"This is our third time having to hear this," said Anthony Cervone. "I guess it's not as numbing but it's deafening."
Now the Cervone family is focused on making Lucas' remaining days his happiest.
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"I want him to have the best quality of life I can give him until the end," his father said.
Lucas loves to read cards and received 500 letters from well-wishers for Christmas. His family is trying to surpass that number for Lucas' birthday on May 7.
Letters and cards can be sent to:
Lucas Bear Heroes or Lucas Bear
40 E. Chicago Ave., No. 162
Chicago, IL 60611
"He's my hero," said his mother, Rina Cervone. "I don't think I could ever be as strong as him."
"What we want to show him is his family will be here with him, as well as everyone else," Anthony Cervone added.