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Pasco County neighborhood throws New Year's Day parade to honor girl with leukemia

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 18:03:45-04

SAD UPDATE | Tuesday, March 12 Ali passed away while surrounded by her loving family.

She is remembered as, "a willful and feisty kind of girl with a personality that could light up any room."

ODESSA, Fla. — There may have been bigger New Year’s Day parades around. But you won’t find one more meaningful than the event that brought together a Pasco County neighborhood.

Ali Spears needed a day like this. Ali, who is about to turn 13, has been fighting Leukemia for almost two years. It’s been an endless cycle of hospitals, medicine and chemo. The last hope was a bone marrow transplant in September that hasn’t worked.

So her family, friends and neighbors are taking every opportunity to bring her happiness. This parade through the Starkey Ranch community came together in just a couple of days.

“The support of our community has been overwhelming since Ali’s diagnosis in March of ’17. And having that support and backing behind us gives us the motivation to get up every day and continue to bring joy to Ali. It’s incredible,” said her mother, Mara.

With golf carts and bikes dozens followed Ali around the neighborhood. The were homemade signs of support and smiles.

“It’s just really nice. Makes us feel so happy. And supported and loved,” said her father, Cameron.

Ever since the diagnosis, her parents and twin brother have started Operation Joy. Giving Ali a bit of joy every day.

The plan is to keep it going for as long as they can.