Long Beach twins to ride in the Rose Parade with Ronald McDonald House Charities

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Jake Kasten with his twin Dylan

Jake Kasten with his twin Dylan

Jake and Dylan Kasten, twin boys from Long Beach, will take a place with four other teens for a trip down Colorado Boulevard in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California (RMHCSC) has selected a group of everyday heroes who exemplify strength, courage and remarkable ability, to ride aboard its Tournament of Roses Parade float on January 1, 2010.  Four children battling cancer, two of NASA’s top astronauts, a legendary broadcast journalist, a college student, and one of the nation’s most esteemed pediatric surgeons, among others, will be featured on RMHCSC’s float titled “Space Odyssey,” which depicts a fantasy galactic space station, complete with eye-catching lighting effects and a spinning satellite dish.

“From childhood cancer survivors to a journalist who has reported the news to Angelenos for more than 60 years, our float riders are the embodiment of this year’s parade theme, “A Cut Above the Rest.”  said Nicole Rubin, CEO, RMHCSC.  “I am honored that Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California will be represented by this group of fine individuals and am sure that the world will be inspired by their bravery, perseverance and determination.”

Jake Kasten of Long Beach, now 14 years old, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when he was 6 years old.  He went through 4 years of treatment (surgeries, chemo, radiation) and is now in remission. His twin brother, Dylan, will also be on the float.

David Dufford with stepson Jake Kasten and his mom, Cynthia (Kasten) Dufford at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times.

David Dufford with stepson Jake Kasten and his mom, Cynthia (Kasten) Dufford at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times.

The twins (along with their older brother, Shane) attended Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times — a camp that provides free, medically supervised, sleep-away camp sessions (week-long in summer, weekends in winter) for kids with cancer and their family members.  The Kasten family attended this Camp together every summer (and almost every winter) since ’03.

The effect that Camp had on this family was very significant, and Jake’s mother Cynthia Dufford (who also attended weekend Camp with her husband, David), explains that Camp “gave them something special to do and look forward to.”

Cynthia also stated that one thing she would like others to know is “how capable the people are who work there.  I want parents to know that they don’t have to worry about their kids when they’re there.”

The RMHCSC float riders epitomize the Tournament of Roses Parade theme, “A Cut Above The Rest,” and underscore the charity’s vision of creating a community where children and their families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage and joy.

rose-parade-float

The Southern California Ronald McDonald Houses, with another under development in Long Beach, provide shelter, support and comfort for families of children receiving treatment at nearby medical facilities. Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times provides free sleep-away camp experiences for kids with cancer and their families. The Tournament of Roses Parade float is made possible by the support of McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California.  The current President of RMHCSC, Ron Piazza, is based in Long Beach and an owner-operator of several local McDonald’s.

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