Iowa family puts ‘fun’ in funeral after 5-year-old son dies of cancer

Photo courtesy of GoFundMe page

VAN METER, Iowa – While most five-year-olds in the town of Van Meter, Iowa spent the fall busy with schoolwork and playdates, Garrett Mathias was enduring months of exhausting treatment for a rare form of cancer, the Des Moines Register reports.

Garrett was first diagnosed with alveolar fusion negative rhabdomyosarcoma in September. This unique disease targeted Garrett’s temporal bone, cranial nerve, and inner ear. Even while Garrett was receiving chemo, his mother says he never lost his cheerful disposition.

One night after his parents returned home from the funeral of another child battling pediatric cancer, Garrett noticed how unhappy they were. He asked them why funerals were so sad, adding, “I’m going to have a bouncy house at mine.”

In mid-June, Garrett’s parents learned that his tumors were officially untreatable. Nothing could be done to help as the cancer surrounded the lining of his brain and prevented the regulation of spinal fluid. Alas, doctors had to tell Garrett’s parents that their little boy’s cancer was terminal.

Garrett passed away on July 6, but that wasn’t the end of his story.

On the last line of Garrett’s obituary, a simple message to his family and friends read, “See ya later, suckas!”

In the days since Garrett’s passing, his parents have received an outpouring of support and love, along with many questions about Garrett’s final words.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Garrett’s mom spoke of her son’s fun personality, saying, “We really tried to use his words, and the way he talked. Garrett was a very unique individual. What I really didn’t want was for his obituary to be ordinary and to have a really sad funeral. We’ve cried oceans of tears for the last nine months.”

Garrett’s funeral will be held on July 14, and it will be nothing short of a celebration. The day will include five bouncy houses, just like Garrett wanted, along with snow cones, carnival games, and even some fireworks.

Since Garrett’s death, a GoFundMe page was created for the family’s medical costs.

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