Cancer Patient Gets Super Bowl Tickets from Favorite Player

Eduardo Landa

The Los Angeles Rams gave away a pair of Super Bowl LII tickets to a young fan battling stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Six-year-old Hector Sandoval Jr., a Long Beach resident is a big Los Angeles Rams fan. His father bought Rams season tickets because of Hector’s passion for the team. Hector’s favorite player on the team is running back Todd Gurley.

In September of last year Hector was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and went through a very tough treatment of chemotherapy that was taking its toll on him.

“It was getting the best of Hector,” said Hector Sandoval Sr., Hector’s dad.

Due to his illness, Hector missed most of the season games until the Rams final regular season game against the 49ers.

Hector’s father spoke to Johnny Mendez, a member of the Rams membership services team about his son’s cancer battle and his passion for the Rams. Afterwards, Mendez kept in contact with Hector’s father checking in on how Hector’s treatment was going.

The Rams wanted to do something special for Hector, so they had Todd Gurley surprise him and hand deliver a pair of Super Bowl tickets to his home.

On Dec. 19 Gurley drove from Thousand Oaks to Long Beach and visited Hector in order to meet him and his family. He took pictures with him, signed his jerseys and spent time with him.

“He was really involved with Hector, he was really interested in how he was doing,” Sandoval said.

After he received the tickets there were however questions as to whether Hector would be able to travel as he had to go through an aggressive 14-day treatment of radiation in early January, but thanks to the doctors at Miller Children’s Hospital, Hector was able to get through it and was cleared to fly to Minnesota for the game.

“We always talk about using our platform to create memories and impact lives and Todd did just that for this special little guy,” said Molly Higgins, vice president for community affairs and engagement for the Los Angeles Rams.

Gurley and Hector met again at LAX, as both of them were on the same flight to Minneapolis.

Hector and his father had a great experience during the Super Bowl. They were able to go down to the field before the game. They got passes for the NFL experience and Hector got to play all the different pre-game activities. They were also chosen to be the two season ticket holders to represent The Los Angeles Rams at the Super Bowl.

While Hector has gone through a lot battling this disease, two weeks ago he rang the bell at Miller Children’s Hospital to signify the completion of his treatment.

Miller Children’s Hospital provided the best care for Hector.

“They took care of everything that needed to be taken care of,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval emphasizes the need for people to be aware of the many great services Miller Children’s Hospital has.

“There needs to be an awareness from the community on all the great things they do at this hospital,” Sandoval said.

Hector’s father credits a lot of the support they received for helping them get through this tough time. Everyone from Our Lady of Refuge Church to coach Randy from the La Mirada Matadores football team.

Today, Hector is doing a lot better. He is in good spirits and is even rolling on the wrestling mats during his brother’s wrestling practice.

“Now that he’s better he acts like he has some making up to do,” Sandoval said.

He has finished his treatment and is awaiting his final CTE scan, where they can give the news that Hector is cancer-free.

The NFL has a long history of giving back to fans that have gone through a tough time. Hector’s story is one of those, but his passion, bravery, and toughness to go through what he has is unique, and it’s one that all Rams and football fans can admire.


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