IONIA, Mich. — A stillness surrounded Ionia Sunday. Peyton Dennis’ passing left a hole in the heart of the city.
The 5-year-old passed away Saturday from a rare form of brain cancer.
After his diagnosis in February, Peyton was met with widespread support as he courageously battled diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a tumor in the brain stem.
“To me he was a little superhero," said Ionia resident John Speckin. "He was a superhero in the community because he basically brought this and other communities together."
It took a superhero to bring the community together, and Peyton was that.
He was also a police officer, a firefighter, a cowboy, and a light for so many.
“His smile brought everybody together, and he was such a sweet kid,” Speckin added.
A sweet kid who stole the hearts of everyone he met, one who smiled through unimaginable pain, and one whose life, while cut short, left a legacy that will last generations.
“I think the closeness that Peyton brought together is going to stick around for a while,” Speckin said.
“My heart goes out to the Dennis family, his mom and his dad, brothers, sister,” Speckin added. "What they went through and the strength they showed, I think it will continue to keep the community strong."
A candlelight vigil is planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday in downtown Ionia to honor Peyton.
Funeral services for Peyton will be 1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19, at Lake Funeral Home in Ionia.