A few weeks ago, Matthew Sandbrook received the worst news imaginable from his doctor.
Matthew, a 36-year-old father of three, has an aggressive brain tumor that is inoperable. Even with intensive radiation and chemotherapy, he was given just weeks to live.
When diagnosed with a terminal illness, people often get upset about all the future events and moments they will miss with their families. Matthew was no different, so when he told his longtime girlfriend, Rebecca Rushton, how sad he was to miss Christmas, she decided to bring Christmas to him a bit early!
Rebecca and Matthew’s cousin, Nikki Lee, reached out to their community in Worcester, England, for help.
Their neighbors quickly rallied! Volunteers stepped up to buy and wrap presents, dress up as elves, and even rent a snow-making machine.
Matthew was expecting a small group of family and friends to come over for an early Christmas celebration, so when he opened the front door to find 200 people gathered on the front lawn, he burst into tears of joy.
As Matthew and his family watched, the crowd sang Christmas carols and other heartfelt songs like Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and Snow Patrol’s “Run.”
“We have really brought the Christmas spirit to Warndon — we really did it,” Nikki said. “I can’t believe it. All that hard work, sleepless nights, and text messages to my best friend Sam asking, ‘Can we do this?’ has been worth it. My emotions have been up and down but seeing them all together I’m so happy we managed to do it.”
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially since Matthew is so young and his diagnosis was so unexpected. We hope knowing his family is supported by a loving and caring community brings him comfort in the coming weeks.
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