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Peyton Dennis, 5, leaves lasting impact after passing

Posted at 10:17 PM, Dec 15, 2019

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.