Doctors told Elijah Aschbrenner, 10, he has four to six weeks to live

By Michelle Boudin
September 28, 2015 03:05 PM
Courtesy Heather Gaydeski Photography

A stranger from down the street decorated their house; a star NFL quarterback sent an ice cream truck and hand delivered boxes of brownies, and more than a hundred kids dressed in costume and trick or treated a month before Halloween – all because their 10-year-old friend and neighbor may not make it to his favorite holiday.

“I had a great time,” Elijah Aschbrenner said of the block party in his honor Friday night. “My street is my home. They are my family. I was so excited to see how many people came.”

Sadly, doctors have told Elijah’s mom he has four to six weeks left to live.

He was first diagnosed with Epitheliod Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in May of last year.

Elijah endured thirty rounds of radiation and chemo, a ten hour surgery and rods in his back – and was pronounced cancer free last September. But in April – on Easter Sunday – his parents were devastated to learn there was a tumor in his right lung.

It only got worse and last week doctors said there was nothing left to do. Hospice was called in. Elijah was told he didn’t have long to live.

“It’s been a very emotional time,” mom Becky Hughes, 40, tells PEOPLE.

“My heart is broken into a million pieces,” she says. “We are taking it one day at a time and cherish the memories we are still making together.

This week their neighborhood in Concord, North Carolina helped make some of their best memories yet.

Elijah just wanted to spook people. So they brought in a well-known special effects makeup artist to turn him into a scary clown.

“He made me look just like a creepy clown,” he tells PEOPLE. “It was so real and I loved it.”

Elijah with Cam Newton
Sherry James Photography

When the Carolina Panthers’ star quarterback Cam Newton heard about the 10 year old, he called to chat, asked him what kind of food he likes and then surprised everyone by showing up at the party, hand delivering all of Elijah’s favorites.

“It was the coolest thing ever that Cam surprised us,” says Elijah.

“It was a night we’ll never forget,” mom echoes.

The makeup and the prosthetics were so good ,you couldn’t see his smile, but mom says, “I know he was just beaming the whole time. He’s pushed through and fought so hard, he gives us strength every day and I know he had the time of his life.”

It’s a memory she’ll treasure forever.

“As a mom there is nothing greater than seeing all this,” she says. “It was a magical night.”

Elijah (in wheelchair) with Cam Newton and his mom, Becky (dressed as Wonder Woman)
Courtesy Heather Gaydeski Photography