'We never expected so many people to help out. It was something else. There's no words,' the boy's father said.
Halloween came early for the Crown Point community in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, this year as residents whipped out their scariest outfits to throw an early Halloween parade for one very special boy. Young Alexandros Hurdakis watched with wonder as his parents, Nick and Kira, carried him past witches, zombies, "Ghostbusters" characters, the English bulldog Rubble from "Paw Patrol" and a lot more decked-out folks on their street last week. According to CBC, the early Halloween event was organized in honor of 5-year-old Alex's wish to see monsters and visit a haunted house before brain cancer claims his life.
The Hurdakis family reportedly learned last week that the experimental treatments that helped their son Alex fight the tumor in his brain for the past 4½ years have stopped working. Doctors informed them that the cancer is now terminal and the family said in an update shared to their GoFundMe page on September 8 that Alex's physicians "will be surprised if Alex be with us next week." A family friend named Paula Tzouanakis Anderson told reporters that the boy's family wants to do everything possible to make his wishes come true while he is still with them.
Hundreds gathered on Argyle Street in Hamilton, Ont., for an early Halloween and a parade this week to help a terminally ill five-year-old fulfil his wish to see monsters. https://t.co/xCmgEqRZKO— CBC News (@CBCNews) September 16, 2022
While she was visiting with the family one night, Alex expressed an interest to visit one of the haunted houses in Niagara Falls, said Tzouanakis Anderson. However, since the boy's doctors recommended that he stay closer to home, Tzouanakis Anderson reached out to the Crown Point community via its Facebook page to do something special for the youngster. To the family's surprise, they received an overwhelming show of support from the community in next to no time. Everthing was arranged—from closing down Argyle Street and getting the help of Hamilton police and firefighters to arranging volunteer face painters, popcorn and cotton candy vendors, and a dozen sports cars decked out in Halloween decorations—in little over two days.
Hundreds of witches, ghosts, zombies, princesses and dinosaurs paraded past Alex Hurdakis' home last week, after the five-year-old battling brain cancer wished for an early Halloween street party, @katejmccullough reports #HamOnthttps://t.co/2heVaVXwnY— Hamilton Spectator (@TheSpec) September 19, 2022
"So many individuals came together to make this night great," Tzouanakis Anderson said, the day after the massive Halloween parade. She added that since she'd only expected a few people to turn up, she was stunned to see that the parking lot was full. "I started crying," she said. "It was just amazing." Ariane Clark, who lost her 5-year-old daughter Ellery to cancer three years ago, shared that the event reminded her of the community support she received when her daughter died. "It's humbling and heartbreaking to witness this community come together every single time to support families like ours," Clark said in an Instagram post about the parade on Thursday. "I had chills, I cried a lot, I smiled a lot. This place, I swear, there is nothing like it."
"Hamilton should be proud," Tzouanakis Anderson said. "[Alex] was waving to every single person in the crowd. He knew it was for him... You could see the love in his eyes. I knew it was going to be big, but I didn't know it would be this big." The community also gathered donations for the Hurdakis family to help them with the coming weeks. "We never expected so many people to help out," Nick said. "It was something else. There's no words."