KANSAS CITY, Mo. There’s no question eight-year-old Gabe Marshall is a superhero, and if Hollywood tells us anything, every superhero, needs a super team.
“Team Gabe all the way,” said Tyler Heineman.
“Team Gabe,” his brother Scott agreed.
Every superhero also needs a super villain. In this case, that villain is cancer. Let’s quickly look at Gabe’s back story.
Gabe is about to face his second round with a brain tumor. He’s already had brain surgery, leaving him with a scar on the side of his head. His dad Josh got a tattoo to match that scar this summer, and claimed national fanfare.
Earlier this month, we learned Gabe's brain cancer was back. This time inoperable, with more activity of cancer in his spine.
It was after that news that a man living across the country in California decided to join in Gabe’s fight. Steve Heineman, and his two sons Tyler and Scott, saw Gabe’s story and immediately set out to make his Christmas special.
“They are some of the nicest people I’ve ultimately ever met in my life,” said Bethany Shultz.
As far as Gabe and his family knew, this was going to be a trip to see the Chiefs play the Titans this past Sunday.
“Gabe and I are going to see our first Chiefs game together,” Steve smiled.
But it was so much more than that.
Gabe quickly learned the Heinemans were well connected. Both Tyler and Scott are professional baseball players, in the farm systems of the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers respectively.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota went to school with Scott, and met Gabe at the team hotel Saturday before the game.
The connections aren’t just limited to sports either.
Steve and his wife happen to know the man currently overseeing one of Gabe’s favorite groups of superheroes, J.J. Abrams. Abrams sent Gabe a personalized video message of support.
That’s Jedi level awesome for an 8-year old Star Wars super-fan. Team Gabe, now has the Force on its side and has never been stronger.
“I feel great. Better than ever,” Gabe said. “I'm just ready to knock another round of cancer out. I've done it once, and I'll do it twice if I have to.”
But here’s the thing about Team Gabe… everyone joins to lend their support, but what’s given in return is what always stands out.
“It amazes me. The strength that they have,” Steve said. “I was inspired before I got here.”
Now we see Gabe’s superpower.
“To be able to do this with my boys, it’s just what the holidays are all about,” a choked up Steve said.
Steve put this all together to help Gabe, and there are no words to describe how much they’ve impacted Gabe’s life. But in true form, Gabe helped bring another family a level of joy they could have never imagined.
“I feel really fortunate to be able to meet him,” Steve admitted. “To be able to bring our family to his family. Be a part of Team Gabe going forward.”
You can show support for Gabe Marshall by visiting the
Team Gabe GoFundMe page.