Arizona Grandma Dying of Cancer Gets 'Rose Parade' Wish

PHOTO: Mary Beth Brutsman, who was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer, always wanted to attend the Rose Parade in Pasadena, so her family brought the parade to her in Arizona.PlayKNXV
WATCH Woman With Terminal Cancer Gets Her Own Rose Parade

With doctors saying she has just weeks left to live, MaryBeth Brutsman's family helped the Arizona grandmother fulfill a lifelong dream-- with a little creativity.

Brutsman, 67, had always dreamed of attending the annual New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, but when she was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer shortly after Christmas, her family knew she might not be around to experience the 2014 parade.

That didn't stop them from bringing all of the traditions of the parade-- complete with hundreds of flowers-- to Brutsman in Phoenix.

"It was a complete surprise. I never expected to have my family entertain me like this," Brutsman told "To see it up close, feel it, smell it…they brought it to me."

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Debby Brutsman, MaryBeth's daughter-in-law, spearheaded the recreation of the parade, working with local florists to collect flowers donated by brides after their weekend weddings, said MaryBeth's daughter, Marjorie Atkinson.

"Before we knew it there were brides all over the valley donating their flowers," Atkinson told

Keeping with the Rose Parade tradition, MaryBeth was crowned Rose Queen and waved to her friends, family and well-wishers from the back of a convertible, complete with an escort from the Phoenix Fire Department.

Parade organizers in Pasadena also heard about MaryBeth's story and sent her a personalized letter and an engraved Tiffany vase, which she opened on Sunday.

"We are so humbled and so filled with gratitude for all the people who showed they love my mom," Atkinson said.

Brutsman said the flowers and the ingenuity of the Tournament of Roses Parade had always impressed her.

"I love the creativity of it, something different every year," she said. "Americans have always created something bigger and better."

The special day was a welcome respite from the reminders of how her once-active life has changed since her Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

"Never did I dream I would wake up one day and have cancer of the throat," Brutsman said. "That kind of ended everything."

Atkinson said her mother was hiking mountains just days before her diagnosis and always made it a point to eat healthy foods.

"It is a shock when you have done everything to your body you think you should do and something like this happens," she said. "[But] she has a great positive attitude and at this point, we are fighting to enjoy the minutes God gives us."

Brutsman said she has something else on her bucket list, but she wants to keep it a secret-- for now.

"I'm almost scared to mention it," she said, "because people may go out of their way to get it!"