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Reverse birthday honors Cottonwood boy who died of cancer

By Tracey Leong, tleong@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jun 12 2014 02:31:10 AM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

A cottonwood couple, who lost their 10-year-old son to leukemia in 2011, is celebrating his life with a third reverse birthday party.

Darrell and Gina Farley continually honor their son Matt’s life by sharing his story. On Wednesday, they were invited to Simpson University to speak with the students of ministry.

“This story is going to look to you like a tragedy, but actually this is a love story,” said Darrell.

Darrell addressed the room of more than a dozen students, who shared in tears and laughter over Matt’s story.

“I was so moved by this kid who has taught me so much,” said Darrell.

Every time Gina hears Matt’s story, she said it brings back a flood of emotions.

“Brings such a relief to know he is where we want him to be. He’s in good hands, he’s with our savior,” said Gina.

Darrell and Gina decided to embrace their loss, and now use it to help others.

“There’s tragedy and suffering all around us, but in the midst of the suffering there’s hope,” said Darrell.

Both have turned to ministry, where they now pastor a church in Redding.

“Our hope is it will also have an impact on their calling into ministry,” said Darrell.

In Simpson’s chapel on Wednesday, Matt was remembered for his giving nature and playful side. His parents focusing on his positive impact and always thinking what would Matt do.

“It’s nice to see that his story and his life still touch people 'til this day,” said Darrell.

Every year since Matt’s passing, the Farley’s have hosted a reverse birthday for Matt, throwing a party for all the local children dealing with a life threatening illness.

“I don’t want us to shut down selfishly and go we have had the worst of it and now I’m not going to help anybody else. That would not be Matt’s way and it’s not our way,” said Darrell.

For students like Travis Osborne, who has three young boys of his own, it hits close to home.

“Today is a gift and there’s no guarantee I have tomorrow with them, whether something happens to them or me, so just a reminder of living out of gratitude each and every day,” said Osborne.

Osborne is working on a Master of Divinity degree to become a pastor.

“I see this helping me in providing hope and even directing people towards The Lord and his care and his comfort,” said Osborne.

For Darrell and Gina, they express how they found hope in a hopeless situation.

The celebration will be at Valley 11 Cinema in Anderson this Saturday at 9 a.m. If you are interested in donating or helping with Matt’s reverse birthday, you may contact the Wings of Angels Organization, (530)378-2373 or their website: http://www.alyssaswingsofangels.org