Christmas Cheer: Gabe & The 49ers

January 5, 2018

The following post was written by our Honorary Team Captain, Gabe

This Christmas season I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to visit the 49ers football team and was able to watch them play and all I can say was that it was absolutely amazing! I remember watching their games every Sunday or Thursday during chemotherapy from my hospital bed, but I never imagined that I’d ever get to meet them. Having played football, I’m a pretty big fanatic for the sport so getting to meet the actual players was literally a dream come true. I never really imagined that anything like this could even be possible.

Up until meeting June, I had spent virtually all my time in the hospital for chemotherapy treatments that weren’t going very well. From my understanding, during my time at the hospital some of the staff had contacted the Austen Everett Foundation and told them my story. They heard about how I loved football and the 49ers and I don’t know how they did it but they managed to get me a private visit with the 49ers. I just couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and after everything that had happened this past year this opportunity and the people involved really were a shining light in my life.

I had 2 days where I got to tour the stadium, meet the players as well as watch the game. I can’t describe the experience as anything less than phenomenal. The 49ers staff was excellent, the players were amazing, the game was incredible and I just had such a blast the whole time. The entire team came up and congratulated me on beating cancer and they even gave me my very own 49ers jersey with my name on it, all of which they signed. I even got to talk with a few of the players to which I’m sure I was star struck. I especially loved getting to talk to Joe Staley and Jimmy Garapolo as they went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed as well as part of the team. They weren’t the only ones though as quite honestly everyone made me feel very welcomed.

When game day actually came I got to go out onto the field and even stand with the team for the national anthem. With how tight security is now-a-days that’s almost unheard of. The game was great and I loved every second of it. It was simply amazing. I’m so thankful for everyone who made this happen as I can honestly say it was one of the greatest experiences in my life.

Coming from experience, when you have cancer, there isn’t a whole lot you look forward to as most hospitals and doctors are all doom and gloom. For example, when they found a tumor in my knee, my doctor told me I just should have my entire leg removed from the hip down. (I didn’t listen and I’m fine now) Another example is when my Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) had spread to my lungs at the end of my chemotherapy, I was told by my oncology doctors that there was nothing they could do for me and that I just had to wait. (That was a few months ago and I’m still alive today by the grace of the Lord). It’s just from bad to worse situations like those that oncology patients have to deal with daily. You lose hope and it’s hard to feel like you’re even a person. It’s hard to stay positive when you are told you’re going to probably die so being given a bit of joy through an opportunity like this can really brighten your world. It makes you feel as if you are a person again and that your cancer and oncology doctors don’t dictate what you do with your life. Experiences like these give you a reason to have hope that there still are good people in the world who really want to help. I hope others get to experience something like this because sometimes it really makes all the difference.

We here at The Austen Everett Foundation want to thank you, Gabe, for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to many and we loved getting to know you. We look forward to meeting again!

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