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7-year-old La Habra boy with mind tumor celebrates Christmas in July – jj
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7-year-old La Habra boy with mind tumor celebrates Christmas in July

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It was one of those improbable days.

Santa made his appearance at Oak Canyon Private Park in Santiago Canyon on Wednesday, July 24 wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, while Christmas music blared over the stereo. At 10 a.m. the thermometer already read 81 degrees, but it felt like winter.

Santa’s reindeer were nowhere to be seen, but a bright yellow and black butterfly fluttered about, as if ushering in the jolly man.

Diana Mordin knew the day would be magical. After all, she helped create this Christmas wonderland in July.

Mordin’s efforts were inspired by a diminutive, big-eyed, bespectacled seven-year-old named Josh “Joshy” Esquivel. The La Habra boy has been battling a cancerous brain tumor since age three.

Joshy and about two dozen of his friends and family shared the experience. A birthday celebration was thrown in for good measure, because his treatment last year prevented him from having a party.

Joshy’s mom, Lupe Zacatenco, said the family is focused on her son’s bucket list: seeing snow for the first time and riding on a fire truck, which he will do Sunday courtesy of the Garden Grove Fire Department.

When Mordin arrived at the park she was informed that the snow-making truck from Long Beach had broken down on the way. Call it a Christmas miracle, but the truck showed up on time, churned out 10 tons of snow — and Joshy got his wish.

“It feels awesome,” he declared as he held the concoction in his hands. “It’s colder than I thought.”

Mordin, 33, a graphic designer, was asked eight years ago to create a computer portrait of a little girl with cancer.

“She opened my eyes up to the realities of childhood cancer and the possibility of bringing joy into their lives,” Mordin said.

Ever since, she has been volunteering with families affected by childhood cancer and also raising awareness.

“A lot of people don’t know that every day in the United States, 46 kids will be diagnosed and seven will go to heaven,” she said, while Joshy and Santa dined on breakfast burritos like two old friends.

“We’re all interconnected through our foundations in Orange County and across the United States. We’re really tight. We’re from all different walks of life but we all want the same thing,” she said.

They want to make sick children happy.

Mordin met Joshy three years ago at a head-shaving childhood cancer fundraiser in Tustin. Joshy, dressed as a superhero, immediately started telling her knock-knock jokes.

“It kind of didn’t make sense,” Mordin said. But it was classic little boy humor and “it was perfect.”

That was also when he stole her heart.

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