cancer survivor

Six-Time Cancer Survivor Gets Own Parade

This story originally appeared on People.com by Jason Duaine Hahn. 

A six-time cancer survivor who missed her chance to ride on a float in the 2020 Rose Parade was given her very own ceremony days later, complete with flowers, a convertible car and adoring fans.

Five years ago, 51-year-old Stacy Kimmel was diagnosed with brain cancer and given only two months to live, she told KABC. But that wasn’t the first time the California mother faced a devastating prognosis.

Eight years before, doctors discovered Kimmel had breast cancer. She would battle the reoccurring disease for years through extensive surgeries and treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation.

“I want to be around for my kid,” Kimmel told the news station of battling cancer. “I want her to have memories of having a mom.”

Her inspiring story was one of the reasons Kimmel was selected to ride on City of Hope’s float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1. The ceremony’s theme was “The Power of Hope,” something Kimmel said helped throughout her journey.

“Who doesn’t want to be on a float?” she said. “That’s a bucket list item. I know that’s a weird thing to say right now, but that’s on the bucket list that everyone wants to do.”

But when the big day came, Kimmel could not participate due to treatment effects during her seventh bout with cancer, according to KABC.

“I was pretty crushed. I really wanted to do this,” she told KNBC.

Knowing how important the ceremony was to her, the Foundation for Living Beauty, a nonprofit that helps women with cancer, stepped in.

“Six-time cancer Survivor Stacy Kimmel had something important on her bucket list—to ride on a float in the Rose Parade to represent the thousands of women with cancer,” the foundation wrote on their Facebook page on Monday. “Her wish came true… almost.”

“Stacy was chosen to ride on the City of Hope float in the 2020 Rose Parade,” they continued. “Unfortunately, at the last minute, Stacy’s health prevented her from participating. Today, our Living Beauty community rallied to give Stacy her very own unforgettable parade.”

On Monday, in coordination with the Pasadena Police Department and local businesses that donated supplies, Kimmel was driven down the parade’s route, just as she would have been during the actual day.

Pictures of the heartwarming gesture showed Kimmel wearing a tiara and holding a bouquet of flowers while being driven around in a blue Ford Mustang.

“[Kimmel] truly exemplifies the hope, positive attitude and zest for life that we try to share with all of the women we serve,” Living Beauty executive director Nancy Davidson said in a statement, according to the Pasadena Star-News.

Video tweeted by NBC News reporter Kim Baldonado showed Kimmel had her very own police escort.

“You wake up and you have this opportunity,” she told KABC of the special moment. “And look what happens. I’m queen for the day.”

Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Orange County Register via Zuma