Community surprises Berrien Springs man battling cancer with Christmas parade

Published: Dec. 25, 2020 at 9:14 PM EST
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BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. (WNDU) - When 70-year-old Bruce Wren of Berrien Springs woke up Christmas morning, he had no idea what was coming his way.

“When we opened the overhead garage door and stepped out, down the road, there was a fire truck with the lights on and a parade of cars,” Wren says.

In them, were some of Bruce’s closest friends, including both Bryan and Becky Von Dorpowski who came up with the idea.

“Bruce has been in our Bible study class for about 20 years and we all just become really good friends and he has incredible faith and he and his wife are always there for everyone else. We just really want to bring some cheer to him on Christmas in the midst of a heart diagnosis and with his both dogs.”

“Merry Christmas Jen! Merry Christmas Bruce,” a family, hollering down the snow-filled road, said with excitement.

Wren, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer 10 years ago, also has two dogs struggling by his side as well. Like Wren, his dog Ella also has cancer. As for his other dog, Cooper, he was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney disease.

However, despite the odds against Wren, “One in 250,000 thousand people get this, four in one million get this. The time that most people live is very short,” Wren says.

And despite the odds against the Von Dorpowski’s, “The roads were bad in Berrien. I was afraid nobody would get hurt,” Becky Dorpowski says.

This Christmas Day came together as gift no one saw coming.

“It was almost magical in a way. Just a couple of days ago, we had no snow and then suddenly Christmas Eve comes and snow starts. We wake up in the morning...boom!”, Bryan Dorpowski says.

“It was just a beautiful experience to have and for other people to share it, I hope it is meaningful to them as it was to us because we will never forget it,” Wren says.

The Wren family says they want to thank everyone who participated in the parade and for making their Christmas special this year, especially during an unprecedented time.

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