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#PeytonStrong: Family and community celebrates Life of 5-Year-Old Peyton Dennis

Peyton passed away December 14 after a battle with DIPG
Posted at 5:16 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 17:24:54-05

IONIA, Mich. — Family and friends of Peyton Dennis said their goodbyes at his funeral Thursday afternoon.

The Ionia boy was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal brain cancer, referred to as DIPG, passed away at the age of 5 on Saturday. A candlelight vigil was held for Peyton Monday night on Main Street by the Courthouse in downtown Ionia.

Thursday's funeral took place at 1:00pm at Lake Funeral Home on South State Rd.

For those who knew Peyton personally, they knew he was a huge fan of both police officers and Christmas. Chief Steve Bukula of Lowell Police Department served as one of Peyton's pallbearers Thursday,

"A lot of the other police agencies, myself included, jumped on it and gave him a chance to be a junior police officer. He was part of our group. We went to many of his fundraisers and gatherings and he is going to be sorely missed," Chief Bukala said Thursday,

Peyton was made an honorary junior Lowell Police officer in March. Peyton had his own police uniform and got an interactive tour of the police station.

"I told him he was the toughest 5 year old I knew last week, a couple days before he died, and he fist bumped me and said thank you. And that was just his personality. He was always fighting up until the end," Chief Bukala said.

Back in November, a young Ionia girl named Tessa Charles came up with the idea to encourage folks in the Ionia area to decorate for Christmas early so that Peyton could be around to enjoy all the festivities. “I know Peyton really enjoys Christmas and I just thought why not? It’s really fun and I know it would make him happy,” Tessa said back in November.

Peyton's family has set up a Gofundme account to help with costs following his passing.