IRWINDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- During the upcoming Rose Parade, one of the floats gliding along the streets of Pasadena will be carrying a dozen cancer patients who never thought they'd see the new year.
Stacy Kimmel, a local mom and six-time breast cancer survivor who says she survived thanks to the power of hope, will be riding on the City of Hope float. And she's excited to be celebrating this year's parade theme: "The Power of Hope."
"Who doesn't want to be on a float," she said. "That's a bucket list item. I know that's a weird thing to say right now, but that's on the bucket list that everyone wants to do."
Kimmel's hopes were almost tossed aside due to an insidious form of breast cancer. When she was 38, Kimmel began to experience weird symptoms. Extensive testing revealed stage zero breast cancer lining her ducts.
She decided to be aggressive and removed both her breasts.
"I want to be around for my kid. I want her to have memories of having a mom," Kimmel said. "That was the first time.
Two years later, it came back as an invasive cancer. That's when Kimmel transferred her care to medical oncologist Dr. Joanne Mortimer at the City of Hope.
"Stacy has had a lot of surgery, a lot of chemo and a lot of radiation," Mortimer said.
Five years ago, right before New Year's Day, Kimmel had a brain tumor the size of a lime and doctors thought she'd only have two months to live.
Dr. Mortimer enrolled her in a novel P.E.T. scan clinical trial which revealed Kimmel's cancer had morphed and was now HER-2 positive.
"We never would have expected that to happen if we hadn't done this imaging study," Mortimer added.
It helped doctors pinpoint the most effective and least toxic therapies for Kimmel. Now, she's looking forward to New Year's Day and beyond.
"There's always hope and there are always other opportunities and treatments now that wasn't there so long ago," Kimmel said.