Man spells ‘Kevin’ in Christmas lights for 20 YEARS

A man has spelled ‘Kevin’ in Christmas lights for 20 YEARS – in honor of his neighbor who lost his battle with cancer.

Mike Witmer, 56, says passers-by are sometimes confused by his lights as “Hi Kevin” is written on his roof – but he has a heartwarming reason for it.

Mike, a father of two, revealed it was actually a heartfelt tribute to his former neighbor, a young boy who died of cancer in 2010.

For the past two decades, it has featured a reference to Kevin in its light displays.

The couple had lived on nearby roads and Kevin loved seeing Mike’s light shows every December.

Kevin was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, aged 11, and that year Mike had written “Get Well Kevin” in lights.

He continued to reference the boy in his lights every year until his tragic death eight years later in June 2010 at the age of 19.

Mike has sworn to honor Kevin’s life by continuing their beloved tradition – installing his biggest screen yet on his roof, so Kevin can always see the lights from above.

Mike, a land surveyor, from Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, said: “Kevin was a cool kid in the neighborhood – he swam on the local swim team with my kids and we all became friends.

“When I found out he had cancer and was undergoing chemo and radiotherapy, I wanted to support him.

“I had this idea to write ‘Get Well Kevin’ in my Christmas lights – what 11 year old doesn’t want to see their name in the lights, cancer or not?

“I decided to do it every year after that because he loved it – even when he went into remission and went off to college.

“But he had just finished his freshman year of college when the cancer returned – and it took him.

“I told everyone to come that year and the ‘Hi Kevin’ would be bigger so they could see it from the sky.

“This is my 20th anniversary tribute to Kevin, and I will continue to do so every year for as long as I can.”

Mike shared how Kevin was only 11 when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in the fall of 2002.

He started treatment and it was unclear if he would be well enough to spend Christmas at home.

On December 23, doctors confirmed the boy would – and that’s the year Mike’s tradition began.

Mike said: “Kevin was a good athlete and had a great sense of humour.

“He was very outgoing and would talk to anybody – he was just a cool kid overall.

“He was just a great person, in every way.

“I don’t know exactly what made me think of the lights for him, I just wanted to support him.”

So Mike spelled ‘Get Well Kevin’ in his lights for the first time – which the poor youngster loved.

Kevin’s mother told Mike that Kevin loved the exhibit so much that he asked if it would be done every year.

Mike said: “I thought ‘how could I not? and the tradition was born.”

Every year after that, Mike would find a way to display a tribute to Kevin in his display of lights.

Each year it would be placed in a different location for Kevin to find – like a game of “Where’s Wally?”.

In high school, Kevin went into remission, but Mike continued the tributes – even when Kevin left for college in 2009.

But after she finished her freshman year at the University of Maryland, the cancer returned – this time more aggressive than before.

Kevin died in June 2010, aged 19.

Mike was asked to speak at his funeral as his sweet friendship with Kevin was well known in the area.

Mike said: “Afterwards I invited everyone to my house.

“I told them this year the tribute would be bigger and better, on the roof for Kevin to see.

“There was not a dry eye in the house.”

This year marks 20 years since Kevin was diagnosed and the tradition was born – and Mike hasn’t missed a single year.

While Kevin’s family has since left Gaithersburg, Mike and his family have stayed in touch with them over the years.

After sharing the sweet story on a Facebook post, the story was shared widely and attracted thousands of likes and comments from people touched by her tribute.

Mike said: “I’m so grateful for all the attention this is getting. It’s really amazing.

“But when I started the tradition of lights, it was just a small gesture towards Kevin, and it still is.

“I’m delighted to be in the game, but it’s not really about me.

“It’s just a tribute to a really cool kid who didn’t deserve what was happening to him.”

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