6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade marks mother's journey with cancer

"That parade means more than just attending a parade," said Holly Massa.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Holly Massa gets emotional thinking about how the 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade marks her journey with cancer.

The mother of five from Pottstown, Pa. said the event speaks to how much she has to be thankful for, especially as a cancer survivor.

SEE ALSO: Share your 6abc/Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade memories!

Four years ago in November, she got a call from her doctor that she had beat Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Months prior, Massa underwent intense chemotherapy at Penn Medicine.

"The kids and I, we just jumped and cried and laughed. It was an amazing experience," Massa described.

The official news came when she was doing some holiday shopping with her children at the outlets close to her home.

To celebrate, the whole family attended the 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade along the Parkway in Center City in 2017.

That year, Massa found a new tradition at the parade known as the Thankful Wall, which is sponsored by A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts. She was excited to write that she was cancer-free. She's been writing on the wall years since.

SEE ALSO: Meet some of the stars appearing in 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade

"I put one-year cancer-free and then each year it became a thing until the pandemic," she said.

Throughout the years, her husband and son have been balloon handlers in the parade, and her daughters were dancers. But the true focus of the joyous event has always been Massa's miraculous recovery.

"She means a lot. I look at her story and see how strong she is," her daughter Eliza Massa said.

This year, the Massa family looks forward to just being together along the parade route. More than anything, they look forward to their mom being able to write 'four years cancer-free' on the Thankful Wall.

"That parade means more than just attending a parade," Massa said, "it's just a reminder that we have so much and the moment with our family."

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.