November 20, 2013 | by City of Hope
For those who have battled cancer, each tomorrow is, in reality, a dream come true. On Jan. 1, 2014, former City of Hope patients treated at City of Hope will see another dream come true: They'll be riding atop City of Hope's float in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade.
The theme of this year's float is "Turning Hope and Dreams into Reality"; the theme of the parade is "Dreams Come True." Here is the story of one rider: Christine Pechera.
Ever since I was a little girl in New York, I dreamed of some day going to Pasadena, California, to see the Tournament of Roses Parade. But 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
I was told I only had a few months to live. To fulfill one of my last wishes, my family took me to the parade to see the floats and marvel at the beauty and wonder. Even in my weakened state, slumped in my wheelchair, I felt so blessed to finally have my childhood wish come true, though the reasons were bittersweet. After the parade, I went straight into the hospital, thinking, "Well, I guess this is it."
That was 10 years ago.
Through the power of hope and the amazing team at City of Hope, I will return to the parade alive and well, on the 10th anniversary of my initial diagnosis, cancer-free and on my own two feet ... something I could've only dreamed of. I will ride the 2014 float - healthy, happy and with a bright future to look forward to. Nine other survivors, each with their own story of strength and courage will stand on the float as a testament to City of Hope's lifesaving care and research, and hopefully as an inspiration to other cancer patients who are still in the fight.
It is because of supporters like you that City of Hope is able to continue to save more lives. A person once told me that City of Hope is where patients go when other doctors have told them there is no hope. What makes City of Hope different is the love and support of the entire City of Hope community: its doctors, staff, volunteers and supporters. We can all spread the message of hope, and herald the fact that dreams really do come true!
But City of Hope needs support to build its float, and help spread that message. We would never use donations committed to research and care. So we are offering supporters a unique opportunity to spread hope, and make a personal wish at the same time!
This year's entry is inspired by the Wishing Trees that welcome patients at the entrance of the medical center. The trees harbor messages of support, wishes and hope. The float will be adorned with giant replicas of the Wishing Trees, with heart-felt messages hanging on their branches - and you can write your own when you make a donation to City of Hope.
Your wish can even be a part of this year's float, riding along the parade route with us! Your token of support will be seen by millions and hopefully will inspire others to do the same in their community.
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