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Sussex boy will be grand marshal in Christmas parade

He underwent blood transfusion as a baby

Nov. 13, 2012

An estimated 20,000 people will fill the streets in downtown Waukesha for the Christmas Parade on Sunday. And the first person they will see is Ryan Heiman, a 5-year-old from Sussex.

The Blood Center of Wisconsin, the title sponsor of the parade, has named Heiman the grand marshal for the parade, which begins at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The parade, in its 50th year, begins at the intersection of White Rock Avenue and East Main Street, before traveling primarily along east and west Main Street and ends at Wisconsin and Maple avenues.

According to the Blood Center, shortly after Ryan was born, he needed a blood transfusion.

The Blood Center said that Ryan is now healthy and just celebrated his fifth birthday in October - all because donors made sure blood was available when he needed it.

"Words truly cannot express how deeply grateful we are that someone had donated the blood that saved our son's life," said Jason Heiman, Ryan's dad. "Ryan is thrilled to be part of the parade, and it's our hope that seeing his smiling face on that day will be an inspiration for people to give so other lives can be saved."

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