Saturday, November 1, 2014

Christmas comes early to Liberty Mountain

Christmas is a time filled with hope, joy and love. This year, it arrived early.

The festivities started two months in advance to honor the wish of a 5-year-old boy named Nathan Norman. He was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 1, and the cancer later spread to his spine. Nathan Norman has gone through countless treatments but still fights back the illness.

Christmas in October — Nathan Norman lit the tree two months early. Gabe Hernandez, Marketing

“At 5:30 in the afternoon, we received the call,” Dawn Norman, the boy’s mother, said. “It’s never good when the doctor’s office calls you after hours. He just kept saying on the phone, ‘There’s been an abnormality. I’m so sorry. There’s been an abnormality.’”

When asked by his parents if there was something they could do to make Nathan Norman’s treatment easier, he responded like any 5-year-old boy would and said, “Celebrate Christmas.” Immediately, both of his parents began to decorate the house, stringing up lights and setting up the Christmas tree.

Even the Normans’ neighbors, who have supported them from the beginning, joined in on the pre-Christmas festivities and decorated their yards and homes as well.

“Does it matter if people think we are crazy? Does it matter?” Robert Norman, the boy’s father, said. “Absolutely not. If this is his last Christmas, and he can spend it celebrating for four months, absolutely.”

Liberty University took the idea of an early Christmas further Tuesday, Oct. 23 by allowing Nathan Norman to light the Christmas tree that adorns the Liberty mountainside.

“Nathan was really excited to turn around and watch the tree light up, and now, for the rest of the season, as people drive through Lynchburg, everybody can know that Nathan got Christmas started for us this year,” Neal Askew, Liberty’s executive vice president, said. “We are proud of that and proud to be a part of helping their family.”

Nathan Norman received gifts from coaches, athletic teams and the Liberty Bookstore.
Sparky, Liberty’s mascot, showed up for the merriment to give the boy some Christmas cheer. Joining in the festivity were Nathan Norman’s three siblings and some close friends and neighbors.

“This story has touched so many people, it’s crazy — more than I could have probably even imagined,” Robert Norman said.

Nathan Norman’s parents still have a great deal of hope for their son. Through their faith in Jesus Christ, they trust that God has a plan.

“When you ask Nathan, ‘Are you scared?’ he’ll say, ‘No, God is with me.’ His sister asked him, ‘Nathan, are you scared you might get to see Jesus soon?’ As a mom, I’m saying no. No one is going to see Jesus. Everybody is staying here. We’ll see Jesus when we are old,” Dawn Norman said. “But Nathan said that he is not scared to see Jesus, but he would just miss his Mommy and Daddy.”

Nathan and his family said that they appreciated all the support and prayers. All Christmas wishes can be sent to Nathan Norman at 81 Dunivan Drive, Rustburg, VA 24588.

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