6-year-old Nicholas has cancer; his birthday party caused gridlock

Wendy Carranza said she was overwhelmed Saturday afternoon by the show of support and love for her son Nicholas, who has terminal brain cancer. So were a significant portion of North Long Beach thoroughfares as a continuous stream of tricked-out cars, trucks, motorcycles as well as emergency vehicles—and one helicopter—rolled by the Carranza home to wish Nicholas a happy sixth birthday.

These types of drive-by celebrations have become popular and necessary during the pandemic. There have been similar parades to celebrate World War II vets and front line workers; parents and students have used them to celebrate teachers. Teachers have used them to celebrate parents, and students and every level of education has used them for graduations.

Yet, it is highly unlikely there has been one that has generated the sheer volume of people and vehicles as the one for Nicholas. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of cars passed for hours in front of the family’s home on Artesia Boulevard. So many vehicles, in fact, a traffic advisory was issued.

Debbie Foreman, with her connections to the car club world, was a major reason for the volume. Foreman has, for years, taken it upon herself to tend to the wishes of terminally ill children with her Batman-inspired Lamborghini. A while back, she took Nicholas—”such a sweet, sweet boy”—and Wendy on a ride. Nicholas loves cars. The cooler the better. That moved Foreman to put the word out about Saturday’s drive-by, but even she was surprised by the outpouring of love.

“Incredible,” she said.

“It’s amazing,” Wendy said.

Many of those who passed, stopped long enough to give the family gifts for Nicholas—a good portion of those, auto-related—though Nicholas was not there to accept them. On this very hot afternoon, he remained inside.

To support the family, a gofundme page has been created.

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.