Hope Floats: Cancer Survivors Create Masterpiece for Rose Parade

Young cancer survivors credit their success to City of Hope.

Cancer survivors were putting in the hours, gluing thousands of small flower petals onto a City of Hope float in anticipation of the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year's Day.

The theme for this year's float is "The Miracle of Science With Soul."

Alex Tung, a surfer from Orange County, never thought he would be gluing tiny purple flower petals onto a float, but found himself doing just that on Monday.

"This is my first time, and it's pretty exciting," Tung said.

Tung said a year ago, he wasn't he sure he would even be here after he was diagnosed with leukemia. He went from the ocean to the hospital, working through a challenging time in his life.

"Fortunately, I am healthy enough to be here and here I am," Tung said.

City of Hope, a private, not-for-profit hospital sponsoring the float, performed his cord blood cell transplant.

Tung said the hospital saved his life.

"To be able to be here a year later after my transplant, to be able to participate in decorating this float, to be able to ride on this float — it's a miracle," Tung said.

Anya Shah's miracle came to be two years ago when she was relieved to find she was cancer-free.

She faced her own battle with leukemia.

Shah said she credits City of Hope with her fast recovery.

She got out of her hospital bed and back to the gym, where she now competes in gymnastics.

"My ultimate goal is to become a pediatric oncologist," Shah said.

She will be right alongside Tung on the float during the five and a half hour parade, representing not only the future, but how the City of Hope shaped their lives.

"I'm proud to be able to represent City of Hope," Tung said. "I'm proud to be healthy and show what City of Hope has done for me."

Shah said being able to ride on the float is an honor.

"The Rose Parade symbolizes for me, a new year, a fresh start, a whole new beginning that's cancer-free," Shah said. 

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