Utah community celebrates Christmas in April for young child living on ‘borrowed time’

Posted at 9:48 PM, Apr 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-26 17:48:03-04

ROY, Utah -- It's Christmas in April for one 6-year-old boy living in Roy.

Merrick Kinser is a special needs student who has been in and out of hospitals his entire life due to a genetic disease. Until recently, he didn't understand what Christmas is. On Saturday, the community gave him a holiday party he'll never forget.

Some kids ask for toy fire trucks under the tree, but Merrick got to play in a real life hook and ladder thanks to the Roy Fire Department. Inside the back of one of the ambulances, Santa was also awaiting Merrick.

"With the snow storm he thought it was Christmas and because he thought it was Christmas he kept asking, 'Where's Santa, where is Santa?' And it came down to where he was asking and crying, saying, 'Does Santa not love me?'" said Merrick's father, Kris Kinser.

Merrick was born with 1P36 Deletion Syndrome. He wasn't given more than a year to live, and doctors said he would never walk or talk. His family said his ability to understand Christmas is just one of many milestones, and they said there is no rule they have to wait eight months before he can celebrate.

"We don't wait until Christmas to come, we make it happen now and we make it important," said Merrick's mother Karina Kinser. "We're not guaranteed until Christmas either, I mean, we're on borrowed time with Merrick--doctors said he wouldn't make it past a year."

The Roy Fire Department, along with Santa, escorted Merrick throughout the city aboard their shiniest red truck.

"He's never had so much fun; I could tell by his face he just wanted to be on the truck and ride and be in it and obviously pushing all the buttons and making all the sirens go," said Captain Marla Easton of the Roy Fire Department.

Next, Merrick was dropped off in front of his house, where more than 50 friends, family and neighbors were there to great him with Christmas carols.

"He is just full of life, he is just amazing, he is just bright and he looked really excited," said neighbor Amanda Kilpen.

From the tree, to Santa, to decorations and cookies--this community showed that it doesn't matter if it's December 25th or April 25th: the spirit of Christmas is always present.

Merrick's next big milestone will be his seventh birthday on May 11. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with Merrick's medical expenses, click here for more information or to donate.