SOUTH MILLS — Hundreds of friends, classmates, Camden school teachers and soccer teammates threw a parade for Camden 5th-grader Kaylee Rios on Wednesday.
Rios, 11, was diagnosed at age 2 with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, a life-threatening childhood cancer, and is still undergoing treatment for the disease.
Rios was all smiles as a procession of almost 100 cars packed with well-wishers drove by her home in the Wharf’s Landing neighborhood in South Mills to show their love and support.
Cars and trucks were decorated with balloons and messages of support for Rios and many of those in the vehicles dropped off gifts, cards and balloons for the 11-year-old.
Two South Mills Volunteer Fire Department fire trucks and Camden County Sheriff Kevin Jones joined the parade, while dozens of neighbors lined the street near Kaylee’s home.
Kaylee’s parents, Ryan and Darlene Rios, said they were overwhelmed by the show of support for their daughter.
“We are speechless,” Ryan Rios said. “We have been here eight years and since day one the community has wrapped themselves around us. It’s an amazing feeling.’’
Darlene Rios said all of her daughter’s teachers from kindergarten through fifth grade took part in Wednesday’s parade.
“All of her principals were here, and I saw the superintendent here,” Darlene Rios said, referring to Camden Superintendent of Schools Joe Ferrell.
Kaylee flashed a big smile when her soccer coach and teammates passed by.
“She hasn’t been able to see her soccer coach and her soccer team in some time,” Darlene Rios said. “It was a really good surprise for her.”