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2024 Rodeo Parade Grand Marshal

Posted on February 8, 2024 by The Drive

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee has picked Louise Thomas, who founded Angel Charity for Children, Inc., as the Grand Marshal for the 2024 Rodeo Parade. Louise is an everyday hero, known as an "Angel," who transformed a personal tragedy into something positive that's impacted over a million kids in Pima County, Arizona.

The tragedy struck when her 9-year-old son, Michael, passed away from lymphoma in 1979. Despite her grief, Louise turned her pain into action, aiming to make life better for kids in our community. Since she started Angel Charity in 1983, the volunteer-driven organization she leads has touched the lives of over a million children, funded 129 projects for nonprofit children's agencies, and raised more than $31 million to help kids in Pima County.

In 1982, she was asked to help pay off the mortgage for the Ronald McDonald House. Louise took on the challenge head-on, teaming up with co-founder Jane Loew Sharples to start Angel Charity for Children. Over the past 41 years, with Louise at the helm, hundreds of Angel volunteers have raised between $750,000 to $1,000,000 annually. This money goes towards funding projects for nonprofits that cater to children's needs, including building or renovating facilities, providing social services, healthcare, media research, education, and supporting the arts.

Louise's desire to help others has also led to the creation of an endowed chair in pediatric cancer research and inspired the establishment of another nonprofit called PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers) in Phoenix, Arizona. PANDA has raised over $26 million for the Steele Children's Research Center at the University of Arizona.

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee recognizes Louise's unwavering dedication and generosity towards the children of Southern Arizona and is honored to name her as the Grand Marshal for the 2024 Parade.

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