LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For the last few years, family and friends of Gabe Kinderman have had a tough road, but thanks to a gift from a Louisville business and the Make-A-Wish foundation, the 2015 Big Wish Gala in downtown Louisville brought a moment they'll never forget.
When Gabe Kinderman was 15 years old he had one wish in his young life - to drive his dream car. If you're thinking Lamborghini, Ferrari or Porsche you would be wrong. His dream car was the classic El Camino.
"It's always been his dream car," Make-A-Wish Program Manager Jennifer Greener said. "He was super psyched about it!"
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In Gabe's dream, the car is a slick silver with black racing stripes, steel wheels with chrome hubs, bumpers and pipe tips with blue velvet on the seats. And it's finished off with a new stereo and of course, fuzzy dice.
Gabe's father, John, found an old model and the two of them spent months fixing it up.
Greener said, "Unfortunately, two weeks before his 16th birthday somebody came and stole the car out of their driveway and went on a joyride."
The culprits slammed the El Camino into a tree. Not long after Gabe collapsed in his St. X classroom and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
To get Gabe's mind off cancer the family wanted to get Gabe another car, but mounting medical bills and the loss of their business made it impossible. John's coworkers got the money to buy an old one.
He told the crowd at the Make-A-Wish Gala the El Camino became Gabe's focus again, not cancer.
"I've seen more pictures of El Caminos than most people could imagine," John said. "Every conversation Gabe had for months included the words El Camino, or as he would say 'El chick magnet!'"
Now 19 years old and battling cancer for the second time, Gabe had no idea his wish was hidden behind the stage.
Gabe thought he was getting a look at the progress from Etscorn and Son's Auto Center then teared up realizing his baby was right behind him.
"It's like seeing God in person," Gabe said with a laugh.
Gabe was truly overwhelmed. His first passenger was the nurse who hasn't left his side. A diversion his family needed from cancer
"I couldn't be happier," John said."It's awesome."
"I want to live in it now," Gabe said.
Gabe has had three surgeries in the last two months and is scheduled to have a stem cell transplant in September. His family is certain Friday's positive boost will make a big difference in the days ahead.