KNOXVILLE (Tenn.) – A surprise parade at Clabough’s Campground in Pigeon Forge on Wednesday afternoon has been dedicated to a terminally ill teen.
After learning that Burdine had made it his last wish to visit the campground, the leaders of the campground took just one day to prepare the welcome parade for Jonathon Burdine (17 years old), from Indiana.
Burdine has Ewing Sarcoma. This is a rare form of bone cancer. He and his grandparents believed he would beat it by April for five years. After being told by doctors to begin planning for his funeral, the family decided to take a vacation in the Smoky Mountains instead.
He was met with decorative signs from a fleet of strangers. Pigeon Forge Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff, and Fire departments were also present to give him a warm welcome.
“It brings me happiness and joy right now. Like, it’s crazy,” the teen said.
Heather Effler, the campground employee, and parade organizer felt hopeful after setting up the parade.
“It just makes you almost feel like there’s a little bit of hope and there’s just a little bit more that’s out there. It just makes a huge difference,” she said. Jonathon has a Facebook group where his journey is documented. Funds for his trip and funeral arraignments are accounted for in his Go Fund Me page as well.