Rose Parade float preparations in full swing

IRWINDALE, Calif. More than 1,000 people were at an Irwindale facility, hard at work and paying the closest attention to detail. This year's theme is "Building Dreams, Friendships and Memories."

On the /*Kaiser Permanente*/ float, 20,000 roses will show cat characters in a garden to promote healthy living. Ten children who have been battling childhood diseases will be riding on the float, including Shelby Markis of Brea, who was diagnosed with leukemia last year.

"I'm going to feel like a Disney princess, I've been practicing my little wave," she said with a laugh.

Despite her sickness, the 5 foot 2 inch teen has played as a guard on one of the top girls basketball teams in the nation, Brea High School. She said her coach said she was the spirit of the team.

"You just have to believe this has happened for a reason, and it's just going to make you stronger," she said.

Yajaira Gomez, who has been battling leukemia for the last two years, is another person who has been chosen to rise on the Kaiser float.

"When you hear the word cancer, the first things that pops into your head is death, so I thought I was going to die," she said.

On Monday, she was in good spirits, working on the float and practicing her parade wave.

It will be the first time the /*Cunard Line*/ enters a float for the parade.

"We are excited to be here to bring to life the experience of sailing on board our brand of ocean liners," said Brian O'Connor of Cunard Line.

Food Network's Paula Deen will be the grand marshal for the 2011 parade.

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