Cancer survivor and Pasadena resident Stacy Kimmel wasn’t feeling up to riding on the City of Hope’s float in the Rose Parade last week as planned, even though it was a dream that topped her bucket list.
But as it turns out, she got an unforgettable ride in a parade all her own on Monday, complete with police escort.
The Foundation for Living Beauty, a Pasadena-based nonprofit which supports women with cancer, hosted a touching event for the six-time cancer survivor who was driven in a beflowered car along the Rose Parade route.
“Two of her Living Beauty sisters planned this for her and that’s the most beautiful part,” said Nancy Davidson, executive director of The Foundation for Living Beauty.”We all met at the Tournament House, Duran’s Flowers donated the flowers to decorate the car and the Pasadena Police Department provided escort down the parade route to Urth Caffé on Colorado.”
“Today’s route is a shorter trip because participating in the Rose Parade is a time-intensive thing,” Davidson said. “With the Rose Parade, you have to be there early and there’s no break. And some days Stacy feels great and some days she’s up to it, some days she’s not. The Tournament of Roses is giving her a nice flag.”
Participating in the Rose Parade was a “bucket list” thing for Kimmel and actually was a surprise gift, planned by two women friends who also have cancer.
“Stacy has a huge amount of strength even though she was critically ill for quite a while,” Davidson said.
Founded by Amie Satchu, who grew up in Pasadena, The Living Beauty Foundation provides wellness services to women with cancer. The organization hosts three overnight wellness retreats a year including yoga for cancer, guided meditation, art and other activities geared towards uplifting those with cancer. There is also a variety of one-day retreats.
“Every month we have a First Wednesdays group, where women get together with other women with cancer,” Davidson said. There are almost 900 women served by the foundation.
“Everything we do for the women is free,” she said. “We pay for everything. Women who are going through cancer have huge expenses. We have two women who are homeless because they can’t work, their partner leaves them because they can’t handle the pressure of the cancer journey. We give these women the support.”
The parade was special also because of the people behind it: Both of the women who planned the event have cancer as well, Anita Mendez and Gayle Michel.
“We love what we do for these women,” said Davidson. “It’s a strong sisterhood and it’s an amazing group.”