The next time you go to Kings Island near Cincinnati, look for the statue of a little boy who left a big mark in the world during his brief but inspiring life.
You’ll see the melting ice cream cone, symbolizing loss. Look at his young eyes knowing the reason why. It’s all wrapped up in a smile, flashing a zest for life despite insurmountable odds.
“So many people can see who he truly was. He wasn't just a disease. He wasn't just cancer. He was an amazing child who brought out the best in everyone he met,” said Rhonda Taylor, Gabriel’s mother.
Gabriel Paul Taylor died from bone cancer at the tender age of six. He fought valiantly against osteosarcoma for two years. Thanks to a non-profit group called A Kid Again and a sculptor, the brave little boy has been immortalized in bronze.
“Gabriel was positive no matter what. Whether he was going thru chemotherapy, radiation or whether he was on a roller coaster at Kings Island. He was the epitome of being a kid again,” said Taylor.
Gavin Bruce, a student at Columbus College of Art and Design, drew inspiration for the sculpture from stories people told him about a little boy with big faith, whose smile reminded everyone what hope looks like.
“I remember his mom saying something. He always found the positive in everything. So to be able to use that and kind of bring it into the situation that's at hand. The difficulties that they deal with and try to make a message with that,” added Bruce.
Bruce cast the statue with Gabriel taking a step. He saw it as a way of capturing the child's spirit of always wanting to move forward.
Visitors to Kings Island may never know the story of Gabriel Taylor, but they'll remember passing by the figure of a spritely lad, with a wide-eyed smile who also came here to have fun.
Photos courtesy Kings Island Amusement Park