The Baltimore Ravens are honoring a teenage fan who died of cancer with a tribute he would have loved.
The NFL team placed 575 cardboard cutouts of Mo Gaba, who died in July at the age of 14, in the stands so he could watch over his beloved team. The special area is being referred to as "Mo's Rows."
"Mo is ready," said a tweet from the team sharing a video of the sweet gesture. There's also a cutout of Sonsy Gaba, the teen's mother, so she can always be by his side.
“It’s hard to believe that my son left behind a legacy just being himself,” Gaba said in a video that was released ahead of the team's season opener game on Sunday.
“What he did in 14 years of his life, I can’t help but be proud of him,” she added. “I miss him, but I’m so proud of him.”
The Baltimore Ravens said in a statement that the cutouts are a "tribute to the young fan who, with his positive outlook and zest for life, captured the hearts of countless Baltimoreans."
Mo Gaba had his first diagnosis of cancer at just 9 months old. He became blind soon-thereafter. After two diagnoses of retinoblastoma, at the age of six, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. In 2019, he became the first person to announce an NFL draft pick written in Braille.
In July 2020, he died, hours after being inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. During his life, he had battled four diagnoses of cancer and spent 75% of his life in hospitals.
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Before Sunday's game, the team also highlighted "MO" in "Baltimore" in the end zone, so the teen's name will stand out and live on as his favorite team starts a new season.
While the NFL is playing games, they are socially distanced, so fans aren't yet allowed back in the stands. The cutouts of Mo are in addition to the 3,000 fan cutouts the team sold to fans. Photos are placed throughout the lower seating level, with all proceeds benefiting the Ravens Foundation and its local COVID-19 relief efforts.
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