Local Cancer Survivor Rides in Rose Parade | Jeff Carpenter Joins ‘City of Hope’ Float

Jeff Carpenter, 59, was told by a doctor at another institution that he had only six months to live. He came to City of Hope and, three years later, is living his best life with no signs of disease.

FILE PHOTO: City of Hope | SouthPasadenan.com News | Jeff Carpenter is joined by Dr. Ravi Salgia, his medical oncologist at City of Hope

Ten patients, including a South Pasadena resident, will ride in the City of Hope’s eponymous float at the 131st Rose Parade® presented by Honda on New Year’s Day.

The survivors demonstrate how “The Power of Hope” – the theme of the parade – and leading-edge treatment at a biomedical research institution gave them the gift of time.

Jeff Carpenter was 56 years old when he was given a grim diagnosis: lung cancer that had spread to his brain. Carpenter was astonished because he had never smoked a day in his life, but the condition explained his uncharacteristic panic attacks, erratic behavior, blurred vision and bouts of nonsensical speech.

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In the emergency room, he was told he had three to six months to live. As a man who had devoted 11 years to building his own airplane, Carpenter knows what it means to be resilient and dream big. He came to City of Hope, underwent intricate brain surgery, radiation therapy and leading-edge targeted therapy that eliminated all tumors in his lungs and brain.

RENDERING: City of Hope | SouthPasadenan.com News | South Pasadena resident Jeff Carpenter, 59, was told by a doctor at another institution that he had only six months to live. He came to City of Hope and, three years later, is living his best life with no signs of disease

Now 59 with no evidence of disease, Carpenter and his family are working on turning a 10-year-old dream into reality: They have purchased land overlooking the eastern Sierra mountains and are working on plans to build a cabin there.

Other patients were told by other medical institutions that they had only months to live. They all share stories of hope and rebirth. Take Stacy Kimmel, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer six times and has beaten it every time. Despite having metastatic breast cancer, the 51-year-old Pasadena, California, resident is unwilling to give up hope that she will survive, thrive and continue making memories with her family and friends.

“City of Hope doctors sincerely want to cure cancer and end this horrible disease, not just give someone a Band-Aid,” Kimmel said. “I have seen them working on clinical trials, manufacturing chemical and cellular therapeutics, and inventing drugs that eventually could lead to a cure.”

This year will be the 48th time City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, has participated in the Rose Parade. At last year’s parade, City of Hope’s “Harmony of Hope” float won the President Award for “most outstanding use and presentation of flowers.” This year’s luscious and vibrant floral display outperforms all of City of Hope’s previous floats.

People say it takes a village, but perhaps it takes a city – City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center that moves with speed to give people the treatments of tomorrow today. The leading-edge treatments and compassionate care provided by City of Hope give people hope and a future – more time with their loved ones. That’s why Father Time is the focal point of the float. The white doves in flight are a celebration of new beginnings and the freedom that comes with a new start. A DNA strand and butterflies symbolize the scientific discoveries made at City of Hope that have led to the development of breakthrough cancer drugs and synthetic human insulin – innovative treatments that have transformed medical care and saved countless lives.

The tree is surrounded by flowers so that patients, physicians, nurses and staff can literally stop and smell the flowers. It is a representation of the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden on the City of Hope main campus, two places where patients and their loved ones can pause, relax and reflect.