Inspiring Cancer Survivor Gets Surprise Party One Year After Skipping 60th Birthday Celebration

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It's our 13th season, and all season long we've been turning the number 13 into a lucky one with our "Lucky 13" series.

"We wanted to highlight 13 really remarkable people, to show how that number can be very lucky for all of us," Rachael says. "These are 13 people that have made the world better in big and small ways."

We may only have a few deserving recipients left, but there is no shortage of amazing surprises still in store.

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Kathy nominated Bill, her husband of 30 years — and it's easy to see why. Bill was a state trooper for over 20 years, and while he was working, he became involved with a ski race that benefited Make-A-Wish foundation. Oh, and he's also a huge fan of Rachael's.

"Bill helped raise over $250,000 [for Make-A-Wish]," Kathy says. Wow!

When Bill's doctor told him that he had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver, the many friends Bill had made through his association with Make-A-Wish were there to support him during his own battle.

It was a difficult time for the family, but now, he's been cancer-free for four years, Kathy says.

Bill's 60th birthday was last year, but he and Kathy chose to celebrate their daughter's high school graduation instead. So, with his 61st birthday approaching, Kathy thought he was overdue for a celebration.

"Bill has spent so much time working for Make-A-Wish and helping others, that I think it's time that we came and celebrated Bill," Kathy says. "It's his time."

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To help pull off this "happy Bill-day," we brought in the caterer-to-the-stars, Mary Giuliani, who made it her goal to give Bill the best 61st birthday possible. (After all, Mary literally wrote the book on the party!)

Since Bill is a huge fan of Rach's, Mary decided to take his favorite Rachael recipes and shrink them down into tiny bites (in honor of her new book, Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites). She made a tiny chicken parm sandwich, an Italian wedding soup grilled cheese and a buffet with different kinds of pigs in a blanket complete with various dipping sauces.

Plus, Mary served mini microphone ice cream cones for dessert, to match the disco theme. How cute is that?!

She transformed Bill and Kathy's garage into a disco — dance floor and all! And the best part? She had Bill's daughter — who came home just for the party — hide in the garage for the ultimate surprise.

Watch the video above to see Bill's reaction to his surprise party, seeing his daughter and meeting Mary!

Bill and Kathy also stopped by our show to talk to Rachael, where she gave Bill and his family another gift: five days and four nights on a ski trip in Park City, Utah, thanks to our friends at Club Wyndham. And, inspired by Bill, Club Wyndham also donated a trip to Make-A-Wish foundation.


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