FARGO — The Nelson family filled up many bags and boxes with toys when they wheeled them into Sanford Children’s Hospital on Christmas day.
This Christmas will be the first without their son, Keaton, who died of cystic fibrosis on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
The Nelson family gave toys to more than 30 children who couldn’t be home for the holidays.
“It makes us feel very good for the people that need it, because that’s what (Keaton) would want,” said Jason Nelson, Keaton’s father. “He’s in a better place, and he can breathe better.”
Fargo firefighters also helped to pass out the gifts, in line with their yearly tradition since 1999.
They say this year is made extra special by Keaton’s story.
“It really pulls at the heartstrings, and it’s really something for a child to want to do that,” said Jordan Bernier, a Fargo firefighter. “It’s really important that this can take place in his name.”
Back when he was 9, Keaton had his wish granted: To play Santa Claus and give presents to children in the hospital.
On Christmas Day, Jason and his mother Kristen honored that wish again.
“We’ve been in this situation where we’ve been in the hospital on Christmases and birthdays, and it’s not fun,” Jason said. “So if you can get a little gift, that helps out.”
The Nelson family had a funeral for Keaton last Saturday, where they collected the gifts that were brought to the Sanford hospital.
Keaton died when he was 13 years old.