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KAYSVILLE — A Kaysville neighborhood put up Christmas decorations instead of Halloween decor to support a friend with cancer who may not live to see December 25.
Blaine and Debra Smith said they didn't plan to celebrate Christmas in October. However, Blaine was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic non-small cell lung cancer 6 weeks ago that had spread to his bones. Doctors said he had three months to live.
Blaine said he remembered having joint pain that increased during the end of the summer.
"All in a matter of a week or so, we went from family reunion to family high urgent care," Blaine said.
Blaine hoped he could take Debra to Disneyland one more time, but he became so weak very quickly. Instead, his brothers set up the Christmas tree, knowing how much Blaine loves the holiday, and Debra gave him an ornament of the Cinderella's castle with a backdrop of fireworks and the song "When you wish upon a star."
"I just broke down into tears," Blaine said of the experience.
"We didn't think we were starting a movement in the neighborhood," Debra said. "We were just our little family, just putting up the tree for Blaine."
However, the next day the Smiths heard movement on their roof, and discovered that their Latter-day Saint bishop and his sons were putting lights on their home. The idea caught on and now some 20 houses in the area sparkle with the Christmas spirit.
Hoping that we can bring a little cheer and a little gladness and return some of the wonderful feelings that they've brought into our lives.
–Garn and Diane Morrell, neighbors
"We love having them as neighbors, and especially Blaine, just the sweetest guy," said next-door neighbors Rhonda and Tim Shinn. "He always makes you feel like you're the best, know matter how he's feeling."
Each day returning home from work, Debra started to see more and more homes decorated with Christmas decorations.
"Every time I see Christmas lights, I know those are people praying for my husband," Debra said.
Debra sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and said her family loves to sing. The neighbors have come to their home several times to Christmas carol.
"Hoping that we can bring a little cheer and a little gladness and return some of the wonderful feelings that they've brought into our lives," said neighbors Garn and Diane Morrell. "We've sung in groups with them — we love them. So, we would not pass up an opportunity to do this, ever."
From his hospital bed and through an open window, Blaine waved to the crowd of parents and children who caroled to him Monday evening.
"It's a whole tie in to the light of Christ and the healing power and we've just felt very, very blessed," Debra said.
The Smiths say their neighbors have always been friends, but this year, they became angels.
An account has been set up to help the Smiths pay for medical expenses. It is the Blaine Jay Smith Memorial Fund* at Wells Fargo Bank.