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Suwanee resident to be face of CHOA parade

Luci Newton, 6, leads Santa, Mrs. Claus

Tara Newton, left, and her 6-year-old daughter Luci Newton, right, will be the Face of the Parade in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 33rd Annual Children’s Christmas Parade. (Special Photo)

Tara Newton, left, and her 6-year-old daughter Luci Newton, right, will be the Face of the Parade in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 33rd Annual Children’s Christmas Parade. (Special Photo)

IF YOU WATCH

IF YOU WATCH:

• What: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 33rd Annual Children’s Christmas Parade

• Channel: WSB-TV Channel 2

• Time: 10:30 a.m.

ATLANTA — On Saturday, one of Suwanee’s own residents is going to be the Face of the Parade in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 33rd Annual Children’s Christmas Parade.

Six-year-old Luci Newton, a CHOA patient, and her family will be prominently seated in a horse-drawn carriage to lead Santa and Mrs. Claus, award-winning high school marching bands, floats, dance groups and giant helium balloons along the parade route through Midtown.

“Oh my goodness, she’s going a little insane (about it),” mom Tara Newton said. “We’ve done some last minute shopping for sparkly hat and gloves, preparing for the weather. She’s so excited to wear her white dress and be the princess of the parade.”

Young Newton was nominated to be in the parade by doctors and nurses at CHOA.

“I had no idea about the whole thing,” Tara Newton said with a laugh.

As a baby, Luci was in a home fire accident in China. Medical care is so sparse and expensive that her Chinese parents left her at an orphanage with a note that had her birthday and about a month’s salary in cash asking those who found her to get her the care she deserved.

Late one night, Tara saw Luci’s picture on an adoption website and couldn’t forget her.

“I printed out her file and her pictures, and I told my husband ‘Just look at them,’” she said. “He told me ‘I think this is crazy. But I know it’s what we need to do.’”

Tara had also been burned in the past during a Fourth of July celebration when she was hit with a firework.

The Newtons adopted Luci almost two years ago from China. Luci was wearing a tutu her mother-to-be had sent her, and frequently wears tutus now to her appointments at CHOA. The little girl has already endured multiple reconstructive surgeries and will likely have a few more.

“She is doing great. Even with the surgeries, she’s the toughest kid — person — that I’ve ever met,” Tara said. “She doesn’t want to stop for anything.”

Since there had been so many back-to-back procedures, the Newtons decided to take 2012 off from the operating table. In the new year, there are new surgeries to tackle. But until then, Luci is going to have a blast through the holidays.

“We’re going to let her enjoy everything before going back into surgery in January,” Tara Newton said.

The parade is free, but for those seeking front-row access, reserved bleacher seats are on sale for $18 and can be purchased at www.choa.org/paradebleachers. Proceeds from the parade helping to fund programs and equipment to serve the patients and families at Children’s.

The Children’s Christmas Parade airs live on WSB-TV Channel 2 starting at 10:30 a.m. WSB-TV anchors Linda Stouffer and Fred Blankenship will provide viewers with live updates along the parade route.

The new route will start at Peachtree Street and 16th Street and continue for one mile, ending at Peachtree Street and 6th Street.

For more information, visit www.choa.org/parade.