3-year-old Kansas boy honored with early Christmas dies of cancer

Posted: Updated:
LEBO, Kan. (KAKE) -

A 3-year-old Kansas boy who has been battling cancer for more than a year died over the weekend, about two months after people in his hometown celebrated Christmas early to honor the child. 

KTKA reports Christian Risner, of Lebo, was placed in hospice care in August and died Saturday morning. He was diagnosed with Rhabdoid kidney cancer in the spring of 2016.

He loved Christmas, so the town of about 940 people put on a special celebration Sept. 10, with Santa, a horse-drawn sleigh and homes throughout the town decorated for the holiday.   

Kelly Fruend organized the event.

“I wanted the family to be able to make some amazing memories with their son in the time that they have left and to enjoy it and look back and see good times,” she said.

The Jones-Vans Arsdale Funeral Home says his funeral will take place Saturday at Lebo High School, with visitation before the service.

He is survived by his parents, two brothers and paternal grandparents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Previous story:

A small Kansas community is celebrating Christmas early this year in honor of a 3-year-old boy with terminal cancer. 

Christian Risner, of Lebo, was diagnosed with Rhabdoid kidney cancer in the spring of 2016. KVOE reports that since then, the rare cancer has aggressively spread.

Christian placed in hospice care late last month. Wanting to ensure Christian's time left with his family is joyful, Lebo resident Kelly Freund has organized Christmas for Christian at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Lebo Baptist Church (map below).

Now, Lebo residents are decorating their homes with Christmas lights to create a festive time for Christian and his family.

Due to large number of people expected to attend Sunday's dinner, people are asked to bring a side dish or and/or a dessert. Those with questions can call Kelly Freund at (620) 794-7321.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Kansas woman sentenced to life for raping young girl

      A Kansas woman has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years for raping a 16-month-old girl. 

    • 2 Pitt State profs arrested amid illegal recording inquiry

      Two Pittsburg State University associate professors have been placed on paid leave amid an investigation into the illegal recording of a nude or partially clothed person. 

    • Man killed, 2 hurt in southwest Wichita shooting

      Police have identified a man who was shot to death in southwest Wichita early Saturday morning. 

    • Where is the snow?!

      Wichita residents on average will see the first snowfall on December 2 according to statistics kept by the National Weather Service but so far this year, maybe only a flurry has been seen.

    • US Supreme Court allows Kansas death sentence to stand

      The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to review for a second time the case of Scott Cheever, allowing his capital murder conviction and death sentence to stand.

    • Shockers climb to No. 3 in AP basketball poll

      The Wichita State Shockers moved up to 3; KU dropped to 13.

    • Man killed in accident in Rush County

      One man is dead after an accident in Rush County Saturday morning. Alan Stiles was headed west on KS-4, just over six miles east of La Crosse when the vehicle drifted on to the shoulder.  

    • Girl has blunt message for Aetna after her brain surgery request was denied

      The 15-year-old tried to absorb the devastating news relayed by her parents: that their insurance company, Aetna, denied her for a minimally invasive brain surgery that could end the seizures that have haunted her since she was 9 years old. 

    • Pratt County deputies make big meth bust

      Pratt County Sheriff's deputy seized several pounds of drugs during a routine traffic stop Friday morning. 

    • Authorities identify woman found in Kansas lake

      Authorities have a woman whose body was found in a southeast Kansas lake on Thursday.