DUARTE, Calif.–Every day, City of Hope physicians, scientists and researchers are making a difference in the lives of people from around the world who have been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. No one knows that better than the 11 patients who are now celebrating their journeys beyond their diagnosis on top of City of Hope’s float at the 129th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
The 2018 float, themed “Transforming Lives With Hope,” adds a deeper dimension to the parade’s theme of “Making A Difference.” Together, these themes reflect the journeys each patient must cross on his or her path to recovery. It represents how City of Hope is more than just a medical center. It is a beacon of hope for patients who have been diagnosed with devastating diseases. City of Hope’s physicians not only treat today’s patients, but do everything they can to make cancer a thing of the past. Every day, City of Hope is transforming lives with the power of hope.
The campus of City of Hope and its many historical landmarks is represented as the float reflects a patient’s journey starting with the inspirational Wishing Tree. The 400 wishes from patients, family members and caregivers displayed across the exterior design are not just heartfelt messages of hope, but reminders of the work that happens daily at City of Hope, where caregivers and scientists work to make these wishes a reality.
Eleven physicians, who will be riding alongside their patients, are transforming the future of health — making a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. In turn, the lives they helped save, can now celebrate their journeys that have helped people beyond measure.
Whether it’s a young LA Dodger player raising awareness for cancer research, a firefighter helping those in need, a young man donating platelets to help the many cancer patients in need of a transfusion, a cancer survivor who advocates for others to get the critical medical care they need, or a doctor working to find better treatments for devastating diseases, all of these journeys give hope and offer inspiration to everyone involved in the fight against cancer.
The rider stories:
- Enrique “Kike” Hernandez: When 26-year-old Dodger outfielder Enrique “Kike” Hernandez found out his dad had multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, he immediately took him to City of Hope. There, Kike and his dad, Enrique Hernandez, met with Stephen J. Forman, M.D., a world-renowned hematologist and oncologist. Forman helped guide Hernandez’s treatment plan and worked closely and collaboratively with physicians in Florida so Kike’s dad could be treated closer to his home in Puerto Rico. Now, his dad is in remission and Kike and his family could not be happier. Kike already has brought awareness and funds for his native home in the wake of the destruction of Hurricane Maria, and now, he is doing the same for cancer research.
- Fred Claire: As a former general manager and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred Claire knows what it takes to win. Claire presided over the team’s 1988 World Series championship season and continued his storied run through June 1998, part of a 30-year career with the team. Still, he says he faced his greatest challenge far from the bright lights of the baseball diamond. In 2016, Claire was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. As he continues to go through treatment, Claire is also looking for ways to give back. He has already helped raise funds and awareness for City of Hope through his inaugural Celebrity Golf Classic.
- Cory Norton: Thirty-three-year-old Cory Norton is in the business of helping others. As a firefighter and paramedic for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, he often puts his life on the line to save others. When Norton was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer on his spine in early 2016, he had an army behind him to help him get through his treatment — including his brothers and sisters from Local 935, who has held numerous fundraisers for Norton and his family. “It’s easy to forget how great people are in this ugly world,” said Norton. “I had so many strangers, people who I have never met before, donate to me and they were willing to help in any way possible. it really opened my eyes again to see the good in this world.” Norton vows to continue to help as many people as he can, because that is what truly matters.
- Daniel Bliley: When Daniel Bliley’s mother passed away from leukemia when he was just 8 years old, he knew he wanted to help other patients like his mom. He just wasn’t sure how. When he turned 18, he found a way — by donating platelets to cancer patients who desperately needed these transfusions to live. He’s been donating for 15 years now and is nearing his 200th donation. These donations have helped countless lives.
- Rosemary Estrada: Rosemary Estrada is a colon and thyroid cancer survivor. She is part of three generations who have a genetic mutation that increases the risk of colon cancer. But she doesn’t let that define her. With the help of her doctors at City of Hope, Estrada has beaten cancer twice and is ready to beat it again if necessary. Now she wants to give back to other patients by creating awareness for genetic mutations and helping those affected by the disease.
- Chad Bible: For the past 21 years, baseball has consumed this San Diego State University outfielder’s life. It wasn’t until Chad Bible was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2017 that he realized there’s more to life than just baseball. He is now in complete remission and is using his experience and status to inspire and bring awareness to cancer.
- Nicole Allen: Much of Nicole Allen’s family has passed away from cancer, but she was determined not to leave her three daughters without a mother, so she referred herself to City of Hope after her local oncologist brushed off her concerns over pain and swelling in her breast. Allen, a single mother, traveled weekly from Victorville, California, for her treatment, battled severe depression with the help of her social workers, and is an advocate for herself and others as a member of City of Hope’s Patient and Family Advisory Council.
- Becky Velazquez-McIntyre: While undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, Becky Velazquez-McIntyre read about a naval officer who had donated a “mission accomplished” ship’s bell after finishing his chemo. Velazquez-McIntyre loved the idea and decided to make sure City of Hope had a similar bell at their facility. That way, when patients finished their treatments, they could ring the “survivor bell.” Velazquez-McIntyre has now donated nine bells to City of Hope infusion centers around the state, raising money for the bells by selling handmade soaps.
- Elizabeth Jenkins: Beth Jenkins, M.D., 43, a pediatrician who lives in Newbury Park, California, has a lot to celebrate. Not only did she undergo a full islet cell transplant at City of Hope in 2009 to make this type 1 diabetic insulin-free, she is also the first such patient in the United States — and only the second woman in the world — to have had a successful pregnancy post-islet cell transplant.
- Gary Lorenzini: There are some things people will never forget. For Arcadia-based real estate agent Gary Lorenzini, it was when he was told that he had prostate cancer. After his diagnosis, he went to City of Hope where he underwent minimally invasive robotically assisted surgical techniques, which minimizes side effects. Fortunately, the cancer was contained within the prostate and had not spread. Now he is seven years cancer-free and giving back to his surgeon and City of Hope by raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer research.
- Jackie Solano: When the Antelope Valley, California, resident was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, she didn't let that stop her from running the Star Wars Half Marathon in 2017 with her sister at Disneyland, even though she was in the middle of chemotherapy. The 31-year-old was determined to fight it and used running to help mentally prepare her for emotional journey. The next finish line for Jackie Solano? Being declared cancer-free.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 49 comprehensive cancer centers, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the world. City of Hope is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with community clinics throughout Southern California. It is ranked as one of “America's Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution.
About the Pasadena Tournament of Roses®
The Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that hosts America’s New Year Celebration® with the Rose Parade® presented by Honda, the Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual and a variety of accompanying events. 935 volunteer members of the association will drive the success of 129th Rose Parade themed “Making A Difference,” on Monday, January 1, 2018, followed by the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 104th Rose Bowl Game. For more information, visit www.tournamentofroses.com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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