November 27, 2019
By Bobby Talarizadeh
Growing up, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. I couldn’t wait to wake up and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I was always captivated by the enormous balloons floating between the skyscrapers. I had always hoped that one day I would be there looking up at them as they passed over my head.
Fast forward fifty years and I find myself diagnosed with ALS. You can imagine that was not in my plans. When my husband and I received my diagnosis, we decided to take the good of what was left of my time and make the most of it. My very first thought went back to when I was a little girl watching the parade and that became number one on my bucket list. But, could we afford it became the question. As you know, ALS gets expensive fast and doesn’t leave much money for those things we hope we can do before we can’t.
Thankfully for me, I have a daughter who is Johnny-on-the-spot at researching what she doesn’t know or understand. She found the Gleason Foundation online. She told us about their grants for adventures and I put together a New York Thanksgiving trip that I hoped Team Gleason would approve – and they did!
So away we went. We traveled to New York City from Raleigh on Amtrak, which was also a new experience for us. Our first morning there, we got to see the balloons being inflated. We also took a bus tour around the city.
As we were discussing what to do, a NYPD Officer passed by and bid us good morning, then continued down the street toward the parade route. After he had gone 10 to 12 steps, he stopped, turned around, and asked us if we were also heading to the parade. We said yes and he responded, “Okay, follow me.” He led us up to the parade route where the street had been barricaded. There was an empty section that the NYPD had blocked off. He asked another Officer to open up that section and they allowed us to move to the front where we had an unobstructed view of the parade. To us, that was a small miracle from God. We were the only people in that section until the parade got close to us, then they opened it up for others.