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Metairie store owner donates entire float to Children's Hospital

Young patients will be guest riders on Tuxedos To Geaux float

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — The Tuxedos to Geaux float is ready to go. It is one of 17 set to roll in Sunday's Krewe of Kings in Metairie.

Store owner Mel Grodsky said when he decided to sponsor a float, he wanted to do something special.

He donated the full ride to Children's Hospital.

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"A few months ago my grandson was in town and unfortunately had a little episode and had to go up to Children's Hospital," Grodsky said. "In my life, I've never seen such wonderful caring people, such great help."

Children's Hospital patients have ridden in past parades, but this will be the first time they get their own custom float.

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Physical Therapist Assistant Linda Middleton was involved in picking the riders.

"We try to choose kids that either their lives have been changed by some tragedy or something and they're kind of sad, so they get to do this," Middleton said.

Children's Director of Rehab Services Todd Danos said riding in a Mardi Gras parade is actually good therapy for patients who have been through a lot.

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"Many of these patients might not have been able to throw anything a while back or might not have been able to stand up and now they can actually do this," Danos said.

The children are ready to ride with costumes and custom throws.

"Some kids are calling me everyday now," Middleton said. "I have one little boy calls me every morning at 6 o'clock, Miss Linda, are we still riding? Every morning, I go 'yes.'"

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Each patient will be riding on the first floor of the float with an adult helping them with the throws. Officials from the hospital will be riding topside including CEO John Nickens.

"They'll always remember riding on this float and just being part this is just a highlight of their life," Danos said.

Grodsky now wants to make his special float an annual tradition for Jefferson Parish's newest Carnival krewe.

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"To see the reaction we've gotten from the hospital we've signed up for another year and many more to come and we want this to just grow," Grodsky said.

Special Mardi Gras royalty in the Krewe of Kings.

The parade rolls in Metairie on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

The Tuxedos To Geaux/Children's Hospital float is number 12.

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