CHICAGO (WLS) --Doctors have found a new tumor they cannot treat in a 5-year-old Chicago boy who has been battling cancer for most of his life.
On Friday, his father paid tribute to his son in a special way.
Perhaps with just a little while longer to live, Lucas Bear Cervone still plays as he gathered the strength to come to the Tat Cave with his dad Anthony and mom Rina to have his signature etched into dad's big forearm.
At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The family thought he had that beat with a stem cell transplant from a German donor.
"Unfortunately, it didn't take, and now he has a tumor in his chest, and it is growing. And I want him to be here for this because this will be him with me forever," Anthony Cervone said.
Family is gathering for Lucas's sixth birthday party Saturday. There's fear he won't make it to the big day, May 7. Last week, Lucas signed his name on the arms of hospital workers, and word got out on social media that cards and letters would help in these trying days.
"All of a sudden, people start sending pictures, tagging her and going, 'Hey look, we love Lucas. We love Lucas,'" Anthony Cervone said.
At home, they're overflowing now with good wishes. The Chicago UPS Store where they're arriving is running out of room.
"'A fifth grade class made this for me,' he goes, 'Oh, what, how do they know me?' And we say, 'You are famous,'" Rina Cervone said.
But now, back at the tattoo parlor, it's about the peace of not pursuing more painful cancer-fighting procedures and coping with an awful reality.
"I will think about the good times," Anthony Cervone said. "I have learned to not waste time to cherish every single moment."
Tattoo artist Kidd Joe worked through his own tears. Anthony Cervone is employed by Ace Hardware, and they've told him to take as much time as he needs. He said child-focused cancer organizations are the ones that have helped them most, particularly Family Reach Foundation and Cal's Angels Foundation.
On August 31, 2012 Lucas was diagnosed with Philadelphia Positive A.L.L., a form of pediatric leukemia. On July 20, 2015, one month after finishing treatment, Lucas was re-diagnosed. This time it is T-Cell ALL.
"We are hoping to spread awareness of childhood cancer as well as impress upon everyone that pediatric cancer is NOT rare. We hope this page will raise awareness of his battle and ultimately help us gain support through faith and determination," the Lucas Bear Heroes Facebook page says.
Well wishes, cards and donations can be sent to:
Lucas Bear Heroes
40 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
"Tonight as we laid down with Lucas in bed, we told him that if he saw GiGi or Papa Tony or Mama or Big Tim or Julia or Anna or Destiny that he didn't need to be afraid. They would be there to protect him and keep him safe," the family posted Thursday night.