PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Holly Massa becomes emotional as she considers how the 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade marks her journey with cancer.
The mother of five from Pottstown, Pennsylvania, said the event speaks to how much she should be thankful, especially as a cancer survivor.
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Four years ago, in November, she got a call from her doctor that she had beaten stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Months earlier, Massa underwent intensive chemotherapy at Penn Medicine.
“The kids and I, we jumped and cried and laughed. It was an amazing experience,” Massa described.
The official news came as she and her children did some Christmas shopping at the stores close to her home.
To celebrate, in 2017 the whole family attended the 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade along the Parkway in Center City.
That year, Mass found a new tradition at the parade known as the Thankful Wall, which is sponsored by AC Moore Arts and Crafts. She was excited to write that she was cancer free. She’s been writing on the wall for years.
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“I went cancer-free for a year and then every year it became a thing until the pandemic,” she said.
Over the years, her husband and son have been balloonists in the parade, and her daughters have been dancers. But the true focus of the joyous event has always been Massa’s miraculous recovery.
“She means a lot. I look at her story and see how strong she is,” said her daughter Eliza Massa.
This year, the Massa family is looking forward to just being together along the parade route. They are especially looking forward to their mother being able to write ‘four years cancer-free’ on the Grateful Wall.
“That parade means more than just attending a parade,” Massa said, “it’s just a reminder that we have so much and the moment with our family.”
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