80ºF

Jacksonville man who is terminally ill gets better turnout than expected for final wish parade

JACKSONVILLE – A Jacksonville man’s final wish for a neighborhood car parade turned out even bigger than expected.

Greg Brown has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is on hospice care at home.

He wanted to see his friends and family all in one place, one last time.

But the community showed out even more than that.

Organizers probably didn’t have any idea just how big the event would become, with hundreds of cars lining up bumper-to-bumper on Forest Boulevard.

The idea was put out on Facebook, and people from all over Northeast Florida made it happen, and then some.

Dozens of Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department trucks started off the parade, then deputies from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office followed as a JSO helicopter circled overhead.

“We’re big supporters for guys in blue and red,” Brown said.

There was one thing brighter than all the flashing lights, and that was the smile on Brown’s face.

“Words just cannot explain it, it was just unbelievable the turnout and the support,” Brown said. “It was really great.”

Brown had mentioned to a few people he’d like a neighborhood parade.

“I kind of put it out there that a little drive-by wouldn’t be bad cause I am stuck here at the house and basically when you’re under this type of cancer, cabin fever can set in pretty good,” he said.

Happy with just a few dozen people, he got the surprise of a lifetime when hundreds showed up, most of them complete strangers.

“More than I expected,” Brown said.

Multiple go-getters pulled this off in less than a week.

Brown is a 1985 graduate of Sandalwood High School, and his alumni Facebook group helped to start off the plans.

Leaders in the motorcycle and hot rod community took it from there, bringing dozens of riders and drivers from all over Northeast Florida, which you could hear from a mile away.

His family waved alongside Brown on the porch and was left in tears.

“It’s awesome,” said Marjorie Brown, Greg’s mother.

Donna Walter, Brown’s sister, agreed.

“It was totally wonderful, it was unexpected, we didn’t think it would be this big,” she said. “We were just so blessed to have everybody out.”

Brown was diagnosed only a few months ago on Easter Sunday.

The family said chemotherapy didn’t work and he’s resting at home.

There is a GoFundMe page to raise money to help build him a wheelchair ramp and repair some of the railing on his front porch.


About the Author: