The story of a 7-year-old boy from St. George, Ont. who brought Christmas to his town two months early before he died captured the hearts of people around the world, reaching far away as Bollywood and inspiring a new film.
In 2015, young Evan Leversage, who had been fighting brain cancer, learned that he would likely not live long enough to celebrate Christmas that year.
People in the town heard the heartbreaking news and decided to bump Christmas up a couple of months to make sure Leversage got to meet Santa one last time.
On Oct. 24 that year, the town decked itself out in Christmas lights, fake snow and decorations and even held a big parade.
According to the CBC, halfway across the world in Bollywood, director Srijit Mukherji saw Leversage’s story on Facebook and was so inspired he decided to turn his story into a movie.
In the film, titled “Uma”, many of the details are changed. The movie is set in Kolkata and centres on a young girl named Uma diagnosed with terminal cancer who wants to celebrate the annual Hindu festival Durga Puja.
“I thought the act was incredible,” Mukherji said of Levesage’s story. “Just this astonishing act of humanity because it is something which in today’s day and time is quite rare.”
Leversage’s mom Nicole Wellwood got to fly to Kolkata to see the film inspired by her son.
“It’s incredible,” Wellwood told the CBC, “the fact that Evan’s story in St. George was able to inspire an Indian filmmaker to make such an impacting movie.”
“It’s not necessarily his story, it’s more he inspired Srijit to actually write this and I think it’s more what he tried to aim for is the humanity aspect and what happens when a community or people come together and you know in the movie, which I love about it, he’s added the obstacles,” she added. “With Evan there were so many obstacles.”
“Almost three years close to his passing I’m doing all these things that are helping his legacy stay alive, which in turn I hope helps other children that are facing the same route as him,” Wellwood continued.
The town of St. George also held a screening of “Uma” in June with Mukherji in attendance.