5-year-old Zeblin Pearson is getting ready for Christmas with his family. Like most kindergartner's, Zeblin loves his siblings, his school and making friends.
"He came home and said 'mom and dad this little boy named Mason has cancer too,'" Zeblin's mom Cara Pearson said.
The two boys quickly formed a bond over a shared experience that many adults struggle to understand, let alone children.
"What's the odds?" Pearson asked. "I never thought in a million years our kid would start school and find another cancer buddy.
Zeblin and Mason Perez became inseparable. But while Zeblin went into remission, Mason's cancer returned. Last week, Mason's grandma realized there was nothing more that could be done.
"She said 'we're going home, we're stopping treatment, no more radiation' and I knew," Pearson said. "I just started crying and I said 'what if that was us?'"
The Pearson family knew they had to do something to bring some peace to so much suffering.
What started as an idea spread across Lacombe and then Slidell. Family, friends and strangers came together to tell one special little boy that he is loved.
Lighting candles and standing side by side, the community sang to the Perez family. Amazing Grace and O Holy Night filled the air.
For 5-year-old Mason, it was one of the last things he saw before he left this earth.
"That moment they walked outside and saw all the lights and all the people standing on their front lawn there, showing that we're sorry. I don't know why this happened but we're sorry," Pearson said.
It was a small gesture but one that showed Mason just how much he mattered.
A celebration of life for Mason Perez will be held on December 13 at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church of Slidell with visitation from 9-11 a.m. The church is located at 433 Erlanger Street, Slidell.
The family is requesting that everyone dresses colorfully in order to embrace the life that Mason lived.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Hogs for a Cause, Slidell Police Department's KAP (kids and police) Program, or any cancer charity of choice.
You can help the family directly here: https://www.gofundme.com/funds-for-mason-perez?fbclid=IwAR1J3MbV3qFVH6gwBtaJdUp-OmykWdaq_LI2YEpmCy7VA1SqJlPyrvC15ok