Elkhart Community gathers for birthday parade for local boy battling brain cancer
ELKHART, Ind. - Adler Carris celebrated his eleventh birthday Sunday. That's no small feat for him as he has been fighting brain cancer for four years. The Elkhart Community knew that and wanted Adler and his family to know how much it appreciates his ongoing battle. So, the community got together for a surprise birthday parade for Adler. First responders, neighbors, strangers and friends all got together to line the street in front of the Carris's house to wish Adler a happy birthday.
"We are celebrating the eleventh birthday," said Teresa Blystone who helped organize the parade and taught Adler in school previously. "We are just so excited that we can give this to him and have him smile and enjoy this day because each day is a blessing. We have our first responders here. We have the support of the community that has come out to enjoy this day with us."
Adler's parents said the costumes, confetti and gifts led them to only be able to describe the parade as a "party parade" and expressed their thanks to everyone involved.
The parade was a surprise for Adler who said he had "no idea" it was happening. He was first diagnosed with cancer when he was four. At that time, his doctors did not think he would see his fifth birthday. So, Sunday, his family and community wanted to celebrate his major milestone, his eleventh birthday. It all left Adler blown away.
"I mean it was crazy seeing, especially starting with the fire trucks," Adler said. "They were really loud. I mean it was awesome still. It was great. I was really surprised."
Adler's mom helped coordinate the parade, but she too was also surprised at the turnout on Sunday.
"(It was) shocking," Elizabeth Carris, Adler's mother, said. "I had several friends text me saying 'Get ready to cry' I held it in, but it was just astonishing to have that many people showing that they care about our son."
Adler has another hurdle in his cancer fight this month. His mother said he will be undergoing another major operation at the end of October. Both she and Adler's father Aaron said community support like Sunday's parade is humbling and helps make the cancer fight more manageable.