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Parade planned Saturday for young woman with cancer

Friends and family want to make her last days memorable ones.

Posted: August 3, 2012 5:06 p.m.
Updated: August 3, 2012 5:06 p.m.


Family and friends of an 18-year-old Valencia woman with terminal cancer are throwing her a parade on Saturday to celebrate what doctors have said could be the last 90 days of her life.

“It’s just a celebration of life,” said Jim Grason, father of terminal cancer patient Melissa Grason. “We want to celebrate her life and not mourn her loss.”

Melissa Grason will be crowned “Princess of Courage” by representatives from the Miss SCV Pageants on Saturday at 11 a.m.

She will ride up and down her street in a 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible wearing a tiara and sash and carrying flowers.

Melissa Grason has Down syndrome and was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Grason had undergone several rounds of chemotherapy, but doctors told her parents recently that her cancer was terminal.

Jackie Hartmann, one of the parade organizers, said she scrambled to put the parade together in a week because she wanted Melissa to enjoy it before she was in too much pain. Hartmann has known Melissa and her family for 10 years and used to be Melissa’s bowling coach for the special Olympics.

Jim Grason said there’s a tight-knit special-needs community in the Santa Clarita Valley — many of whom will be at the parade to celebrate Melissa’s life.

“Since we found out she was terminal we’ve made it our life mission to give her the most fun that she can possibly have,” Jim Grason said.

The parade will start at the Grason’s home at 27965 Skycrest Circle Drive in Valencia. The public is invited to attend, and to wear pink if possible as that is Melissa’s favorite color.




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