I got a text from a former co-worker of mine last week; he said that he and his friends were planning a special pink-themed tailgate party outside the Bomber Stadium before last Thursday’s game for their friend Gabi, a fellow die-hard Bomber fan who is battling breast cancer. (Or, as my friend explained: “Is kicking cancer’s ass.”)“She had to give up her season tickets,” he explained of Gabi, who had poured years of her life into cheering on the boys in blue and gold both at home and in other stadiums in Canada. “We just want to show her that we’re supporting her.”
Now I don’t know Gabi, I’ve never even met her, but the story of this group of friends rallying around their friend in her time of need was inspiring.
Even though she couldn’t be at the game with them that night, they went out of their way to make sure that her presence was felt. And boy did they do a good job of that.
At just before 5 p.m. a core group of friends parked themselves on the East side of the stadium and began to set up a sort of shrine to Gabi. They decorated their Royal LePage RV with pink streamers and balloons. They all wore pink bandanas, jerseys, hats, t-shirts, beads, leis, boas, you name it, if it was pink they wore it… And they set up a banner on the side of the RV for people to sign, as a get well card to Gabi. The friends even bought extra pink leis and beads to give to passer-bys, so that other people in the stadium would be we supporting Gabi in her fight.
There they were, this group of friends, sending the ultimate shout out to someone they cared about.
Strangers walked by, some stopping to sign the card or leave some money to make a donation to Cancer Care in Gabi’s name. More than $130 was donated from people who were inspired by Gabi, her fight and her wonderful friends. Bomber President and CEO, Garth Butchko even checked in and gladly accepted the pink lei that was bestowed upon him. He posed for a picture (which I feel lucky enough to have been invited into) and introduced himself to the group.The entire tailgate party and the thought that went into it was something to be in awe of. Beyond the time and money they spent on the ‘Pink for Gabi’ theme, the outpouring of love and support from Gabi’s friends and the strangers who passed by was incredible.
I wish Gabi a strong and speedy recovery in her journey.