Pasadena Community Rallies A ‘Social-Distancing Parade’ For A Teen’s Final Chemo Treatment

Malia Wooten Malia Wooten

Pasadena Community Rallies A ‘Social-Distancing Parade’ For A Teen’s Final Chemo Treatment

Some ‘good news’ amoung the chaos.

During this strange time where it seems as though our feeds are filled with alarming headlines, news of communities coming together feel like a breath of fresh air! A neighborhood in Pasadena pulled at the heartstrings of fellow Angelenos — let alone the country — when footage of a “reverse parade” graced the internet with its heartwarming message: we’re not in this alone.

Before a pandemic swept the globe, 15-year-old Courtney “Coco” Johnson was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma (a form of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue) in her left leg. For the last 10 months, Coco’s days consisted of a couple of surgeries and over a dozen chemotherapy sessions instead of usual teenage antics many of her peers were experiencing during their first year of high school.

While the world around her buckled down to stay home and fight the spread of COVID-19, Coco completed her final chemotherapy session at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on March 24. Children finishing their treatments at the CHLA usually ring a bell in celebration with their family, but due to coronavirus concerns, the hospital has put a halt on larger ‘goodbye ceremonies’ allowing only one designated family member to be in attendance.

Though the Johnson family had been talking about having a party to celebrate Coco’s major milestone, plans quickly changed after the novel outbreak forced the public to abide by social distancing guidelines that prohibit large gatherings and standing within six feet of others. But to the resilient teen’s surprise, her mother had been planning a quarentine-appropriate celebration with a close friend a few days prior.

Thanks to the support of a kind-hearted community, Coco was welcomed by a parade of cars filled with family and friends holding up signs, balloons, and streamers as the Johnson family made their way home. Her mother April’s video even caught the attention of John Krasinski who featured the emotional clip on his new YouTube series dedicated entirely to ‘good news.’

The tear-jerking clip has since been viewed over 4 million times! Coco hopes the video of her parade helps people think of their own communities, stating that “it’s important to stick together and support each other in this hard time.”

Catch Coco and her loved ones on an episode of Some Good News, here!

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Also published on Medium.

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