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Community rallies to support boy with cancer; celebration planned for next weekend

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Making life extra sweet for a five-year-old boy with terminal cancer is a mission gaining huge momentum in Central Virginia.

Little Jayden Hughes was diagnosed two years ago with Neuroblasoma Stage 4 cancer. He had a bone marrow transplant and his right kidney removed.

The family, who said that last week the doctor told them the cancer is terminal and gave Jayden just a few months to live, is determined to help him make the most of each day.

His aunt Michelle Persell said the family wants him to know how much he is loved and for him to experience as much as he can in the time he has left.

“I don’t think he’s ever been to a movie. We are going to take him to a movie. We will let him eat Sweet Frog. Anything he wants, he’s going to get it,” Persell explained.

It’s a mission now shared by hundreds of generous people in Central Virginia and even other states.

“I’ve gotten home and had gifts dropped off on my porch," Persell said. "People have been coming to my job to leave stuff. I just can't put it into words.”

The Chesterfield woman said she is even heard from people in West Virginia who read about Jayden on social media. They are sending him gifts for his big party.

To Persell, it’s nothing short of amazing since it is something she never expected when she set out to organize an early surprise birthday party for Jayden.

His actual birthday is in December, but family members aren’t sure if he will still be here, so a superhero-themed party will be held this Saturday for family members only.

Persell said she is humbled by the love shown for her nephew since after our WTVR CBS 6 News story aired this week, even more people reached out to help.

The love has morphed into a huge community celebration planned for Sunday, Nov. 13 at Wholesale Guitars on Hull Street.

Owner Steve Bryant donated the space.

“It’s easy. We were put here for self. We were put here to help each other," Bryant said.

After the community party on Nov. 13, Persell said their mission will turn to granting Jayden his wish of a lifetime.

“We are getting in contact with Make A Wish Foundation. That’s the next step. Getting him to LEGOLAND is the ultimate goal. That’s what he wants and he doesn’t even know that may be a real option,” Persell explained.

With love and support like they’ve experienced this week, Persell has faith that too, will happen.

She told WTVR CBS 6 News that she fully expects the community party to be jam packed with Jayden supporters come Nov. 13.

Everyone is invited and Persell said Jayden’s family is eager to send a personal thank you for everyone who has reached out to help.

Persell said a special Go Fund Me page called “All For Jayden” will help the family with Jayden's medical expenses and to help them make all his wishes come true as long as he is here with them.