Marlins host day of fun at loanDepot Park for 9-year-old boy battling cancer, other Nicklaus Children’s Hospital patients – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI (WSVN) – The Miami Marlins threw a ballpark bash for a young boy and other children who are battling cancer.

With a baseball in hand and a smile from ear to ear, Gabriel couldn’t be happier.

The 9-year-old on Saturday reunited with Marlins player — and friend — Jorge Soler at loanDepot Park.

“It feels great,” said Gabriel.

Speaking with 7News, the boy’s father said he started noticed something was wrong with his son.

“The first time I knew something was off with Gabe was during baseball, and he forgot how to hold his bat, and his running became really, really slow,” said the parent, also called Gabriel.

Gabriel was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor that required extensive treatment. Soon his time on the field was replaced with treatment.

Soler first met Gabriel as a patient at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. The two of them played catch on the hospital floor as the boy gained his strength back

Fast forward to three years later, and Gabriel is able to run up to his hero for a hug.

“He was starting his chemotherapy, saw him right there, we connected, started playing catch,” said Soler through a translator. “His parents had a baseball, so we started playing catch there, and it feels great just to see him now, to see how big he is, how healthy he is.”

On Saturday, Soler spent the afternoon with Gabriel again, along with other Nicklaus Children’s patients for a day of fun at the ballpark

It was a day a day that Gabriel’s family didn’t think would come.

“It’s incredibly special to be here with my son. This is something that a few years back, I didn’t think I was going to be able to share with him,” said the boy’s father. “Going to a baseball game with your son is something that has to happen as a dad, and I thought that was taken away from me for a while, but here we are.”

Now in remission, Gabriel was given words by Soler to live by.

“‘Stay strong,’” he said.

Gabriel’s father said Soler and his family frequently check up on his progress and how he is doing in school.

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