Eight-year-old Gabriel Moreno from Ontario, Ore., was diagnosed with Leukemia at the end of last year.
“I was about to die,” said Moreno.
“Yeah, the day we brought him in and he was diagnosed, Gabriel was, so far, so sick, that he would have died in just hours,” said his mother, Misty Johnson.
Since then, he has undergone chemotherapy and– what his mother estimates– as 50 blood transfusions to keep him alive.
“He’s fought. He’s fought really hard,” said Johnson.
As a way of giving back, Gabriel and his mother were chosen “out of a hat” of names of local children suffering from cancer, to receive more than half of the proceeds at McNabb’s Tattoo and Fine Art in Boise Saturday.
“When I grew up I was poor, didn’t have much and didn’t have a lot of help, and so, I never forgot that– where I came from. And I never will. And so that’s why I want to reach back and help people,” said Paul McNabb, shop owner.
Five artists were on staff Saturday to ink cancer ribbons on customers who were able to choose the color for the tattoo’s special meaning.
“I’m having the breast cancer ribbon done for my mom,” said Bambi Harman, customer.
Depending on size, the tattoos ranged from 30 to 60 dollars, with a donation jar included in the front of the store.
“They treat you like family– doesn’t matter who you are,” said Harman of the shop staff.
And for Gabriel’s mom– a single mother of two– that feeling of family, support, and acceptance, she says, is imperative for what she’s going through.
“Out of that feeling of being completely alone in this situation– ya know?– it makes you feel like there’s so many more people there with you,” said Johnson.
And for Gabriel, who says he “feels good” to be at the event, the donation will have a special meaning as well.
“He wants to live more like a normal child,” said Johnson.