With sunglasses, a crown, and a laser focus for throwing candy, McKenna Riebkes looked right at home as Grand Marshal of the Wellsburg Daze parade on Tuesday.
But McKenna has battled more than most children to get here, including years of chemo, radiation and surgeries to fight cancer.
"It has been a long, long road. She celebrated her second anniversary from diagnoses in May. She has gone through a lot of treatment. We have almost lost her a couple of times," said Mckenna’s mom, Jamie.
During the parade, the entire town celebrated the fact that McKenna is here. All along the route, family and strangers alike held up signs wishing McKenna a Happy 5th Birthday.
The local dance studio brought McKenna a tutu. Another woman, Hillary Reents, gifted McKenna her homecoming crown, one she got while battling cancer herself.
"I can’t even put it into words. I just pray and thank God that she is getting better," said Reents.
McKenna received good reports from the doctors recently. Although her fight isn’t over, for now, she gets to spend the summer being a kid. It will be the first summer since her diagnosis that McKenna hasn’t had to spend in isolation.
"So to see her running down the road, going to school, and coming here, it has been really awesome," said Jamie.
The family was moved by the incredible support from the town of Wellsburg.
"To have the whole community rally around McKenna was cool to see," said McKenna’s dad, Addison.
McKenna and her family will continue her 5th birthday celebration at Disney World later this week. The trip is through the Make-A-Wish foundation.