A woman who's battling cancer for the seventh time who missed her chance to ride in the Rose Parade because she was too sick was honored with a big surprise Monday after her friends and the Pasadena Police Department came together to make her wish come true.
Stacey Kimmel, a six-time cancer survivor who is battling the disease for the seventh time, said she was supposed to ride on the City of Hope float in the Rose Parade, but was too ill on New Year’s day.
“I was pretty crushed. I really wanted to do this," she said.
That wish came true Monday, nearly a week later, as she rode in a convertible from Tournament House down Orange Grove Boulevard, past workers removing the parade grandstands.
Bystanders shouted praise, like "beautiful!" and "I wish I could do that!" as she passed.
She continued down Colorado Boulevard in what friends are calling a Rose Parade do-over.
"As a survivor myself, it’s very meaningful," said Anita Mendez of The Smile Project – The Foundation for Living Beauty.
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Mendez is with the Foundation for Living Beauty which educates and empowers women battling cancer. When she heard one of their members missed the parade, she contacted the Pasadena Police Department.
“I thought it was important to escort her. If it’s her last wish and one of things she wanted to do, I wanted to make sure it happened," said Lt. Carolyn Gordon.
Gordon is a cancer survivor as well, and rallied fellow female members of the department to join the escort.
“I’m still processing this. It’s blowing me away. It’s incredible!” Kimmel said.
At the end of her mini parade, Kimmel was greeted by other cancer survivors and had advice for those fighting the disease.