Glassell Park teen who fought cancer heads to the parade

Daniel Udave of Glassell Park seems like a pretty typical 14-year old boy. He loves rooting for the Dodgers, watching horror movies and playing water polo. But, two years ago Udave was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, forcing him to undergo chemotherapy to treat the disease. During these years, Udave, an Eagle Rock High ninth grader, has impressed his doctors, family and friends with his spirit and energy. Udave not only played on his school’s varsity water polo team and served as a junior lifeguard, but he also organized a fundraiser to buy a video game set for his fellow cancer patients. On New Year’s Day, Udave will once again serve as an inspiration for others as he rides on a float in the Rose Parade.

Udave will ride on the Kaiser Permanente float along with seven other Kaiser patients “chosen to ride due to their heroic and inspiring fight against significant diseases,” according to a company press release. Here is more information on Udave provided by Kaiser:

“Something was wrong in the summer of 2007 when Daniel had to make several visits to the hospital because he had trouble breathing, high fevers, itchy skin, and swollen neck nodes. An emergency room visit led to tests confirming that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normally fight infections. The cancer is no longer detectable in his body, although he continues chemotherapy with grace.

One of his care providers says, “He always comes to clinic in a good mood and takes care of all the other children having treatment.” In September of 2008, Daniel took the lead role in organizing a car wash in his community that raised over $800 to purchase a Nintendo Wii video game set, which he donated to his clinic to bring joy to his fellow cancer patients during their hospitalization.

He continues to excel at aquatics, a family love. Daniel, 14, plays on his high school’s varsity water polo team. He regularly rides his bike with his dad and enjoys watching Dodger baseball games and horror movies. Daniel was trained as a junior lifeguard through Operation Splash, an annual summer aquatics partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the City of Los Angeles.

He has been a junior lifeguard for three summers and would like to work full-time as a lifeguard after he finishes high school.”

Photos courtesy Kaiser Permanente

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