METAIRIE, La - As Kristen Torres and her family put finishing touches on their float for the Irish Italian Parade, there's one person missing.
"My mom," Torres said. "I'll be thinking about her. It's the first year she won't be riding with us. She was a bright moment, I miss her so much."
Jamie-Lynn Brondum's Breast Cancer battle ended last October.
"You don't really know what cancer is and what it does until you live through it," she said. "I haven't had cancer personally, but I took care of my mom with my dad and my 10-year-old little sister."
"She was diagnosed in 2014 and then it metastasized to her bones in August of 2016 and went to her brain and her liver and then it was fast downhill," said her husband, Stephen.
The disease, Stephen says, took someone who was loved by all.
"She brightened up every room she walked in," he said through tears. "She was a giver, she gave to everybody, just a very good person. Amazing woman, very happy go lucky and positive. I just miss her."
Parades were one of her favorite things, so a special float was made in her honor.
"I know she'll be there spiritually with us, but it's still going to be hard," Torres said.
"I'm going to have her riding with me and we'll have a good time," Stephen said.
All the family and friends who'll be riding on the float for the parade say they're extremely excited to be part of it and look forward to sharing one important message with all the people who will see the float roll by.
Near her mother's picture, are the names of those who are or were also battling. They want others along the parade route to know they're fighting with them.
"All of you out there who are fighting Breast Cancer or any kind of cancer you're not alone," Torres said. "These beers, cheers and toasts are for you guys."
Come Sunday, Jamie-Lynn's family knows she'll be riding in their hearts and in spirit with a Bloody Mary in hand, toasting fighters and survivors along the way.
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