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Comfort comes for a single mother, after cancer claims her 7-year-old boy's life


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SOUTH JORDAN — A 7-year-old boy from South Jordan tragically lost his fight with cancer on Christmas Day, but the miracles that have happened as a result are bringing comfort to his mother during this very difficult time.

"It was so unexpected. We never imagined he would pass away so soon," said an emotional Jenny Moon, a single mother of three, including young Gavin Moon, who was diagnosed six years ago.

It was a rare but aggressive form of cancer, called juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, or JMML. During a cancer retreat in November Moon met Jackie Culley, the founder of Christmas for Cancer Families.

It's a nonprofit organization that surprises families experiencing cancer with gifts during the holidays and throughout the year. The organization got Moon and her three young kids a cabin in Bear Lake for Christmas weekend.

"We had the best Christmas Eve ever," Moon said. "We got these absolutely amazing family pictures." And she says young Gavin kept saying, "This is the best day ever!"

But that night, Gavin got a fever. Moon Facetimed the on-call doctor and everyone thought it was just one of his usual illnesses. But Christmas morning, Gavin didn't wake up.

"I just remember rolling over and feeling him so cold and just like, I knew then, that's what was going on," said Moon. "Nobody ever dreams of their kids passing away, but really I thought Gavin was doing fine."

In fact, Moon says Gavin just had his major yearly checkup two weeks earlier and everything looked well.

"Of all the families we helped this year, Gavin seemed the least likely to be terminal, honestly, so to get that text from her, it was shocking," Culley told KSL-TV.

Culley drove up to the cabin to be with Moon.

"[She] drove her son up here to deliver him to Jesus. On Christmas Day of all days," Culley said, "He must be a pretty special kid and Jenny must be a pretty special mom."

Culley started Christmas for Cancer Families in 2017, when her 17-year-old son, Riley, was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2020.

"We actually buried him three years ago, tomorrow," said Culley.

It turns out Riley is buried just feet away from Gavin at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy. Culley and Moon now share a special bond. Two months ago they didn't know each other — today they feel like longtime friends. Moon is now joining forces with Culley to carry on helping cancer families in need.

"To have Gavin's face on Christmas for Cancer Families, along with Riley, I'm excited to see what will come of it," said Culley.

Even though Christmas is over, the organization still helps cancer families out all year long. If you would like to help, visit christmasforcancerfamilies.org.

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