Boy battling cancer chosen as grand marshal of Clarksville Christmas Parade

Garrett Whipple, 11, is excited about being the grand marshal for the Clarksville Christmas Parade.
Garrett Whipple, 11, is excited about being the grand marshal for the Clarksville Christmas Parade.

CLARKSVILLE (WKRN) – An 11-year-old Clarksville boy, who has battled cancer for nearly half his life, can hardly contain his excitement about this weekend’s Christmas parade.

“I’m going to get to ride in the car and I’m going to get to see everybody on the sidewalk,” Garrett Whipple told News 2. “I don’t know if anybody else would think that’s fun but I would think it’s pretty fun.”

Whipple was chosen to serve as grand marshal for the second year in a row. Last year’s parade was canceled due to cold weather and Garrett said it was devastating.

“I was really disappointed. I think I actually cried.”

Family friend Rebecca Bailey said Garrett was looking forward to last year’s parade, and said after it was canceled his family received more bad news.

“He had just gotten better, then he found out about the parade and then they went and had the MRI and they found out he had a new tumor,” she said.

Garrett was at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital this week for more chemotherapy and another MRI, but he says he feels well enough to serve as grand marshal when the parade begins Saturday.

“I’m pretty excited I get to do it, and now I’m remembering, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to be the grand marshal this year,'” he said from the library of Barksdale Elementary School, where he is a fifth grader.

“They say it’s a black convertible, but it’s an older version. I think that’s pretty cool,” he said.

The Clarksville Christmas Parade starts at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Austin Peay campus. It circles the historic courthouse before ending back on campus.

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