Gabriel (Gabe) James Blanford, 17, of Chadron, Ne, was freed of his earthly burdens after a life long battle with Trichothiodystrophy (TTD). Gabe was born August 2, 2003 in Denver, Co to Angie Flesner and Jason Blanford, and passed in the comfort of his home surrounded by family in the early morning of October 23, 2020.
Although TTD stripped him of many things, it did not strip his spirit for life. He enjoyed meeting new people and he was able to capture the heart of anyone who came in contact with him. He loved music, especially Dirty Paws by Of Monsters And Men, giving out fist bumps and hugs. Some of his favorite places to be were in the mountains of Wyoming, any river or body of water he could throw rocks into, and his backyard. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, bowling, and golf. He was happiest when he was surrounded by his family.
In 2010, he was granted a wish by the Make A Wish Foundation of Nebraska to swim with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove in Florida. After he was diagnosed with TTD, he got to venture across the United States twice to Bethesda, MD where he and his family took part in the study of his 1 in a million disorder at the National Institutes of Health. The second trip to Maryland was extended, in thanks to so many supporters and donors, so he could travel to NYC and see the Statue of Liberty. Over the years, Gabe and his family made countless trips to Minneapolis, MN for advice, surgeries, and mobile equipment from the Shriners Hospital for Children. Although the majority of his travels were based around medical appointments, his family always found something new and fun to do wherever they were.
He was a member of the Chadron State College men’s basketball team, he had been an honorary captain for the CSC football team, and he was highly involved in bringing smiles to the students and staff within the Chadron Public Schools. Gabe is known far and wide throughout the community, and many people knew his smiling face from the years he spent doing physical and occupational therapies at the Chadron Hospital.
Gabe was rejoined with his baby brother, Owen Robbins, grandfather Terry Flesner, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and countless TTD brothers and sisters. He is survived by his father and step-mother; Jason & April Blanford of Chadron, his mother and step-father; Angie Flesner & Todd Robbins, of Alliance, siblings; Brooke & Micah Blanford, and Olivia Robbins, grandparents; Randy & Jeri Blanford of Chadron, Laura & Jerry Schultz of Seward, Jim & Dawn Jarrett of Powell, WY, Terry & Alice Robbins of Alliance, great grandmothers; Bernice Blair of Hay Springs, Mildred Emery of Powell, WY, aunts & uncles; Ashley Blanford of Chadron, Jeremy Martin of Goehner, NE, April Keith of Seward, NE, Jason Martin of Ravenna, NE, Frederic (Andrea) Schultz of Epping, ND, Terra (Rob) Eggum of Lehigh Acres, FL, Justin Flesner of Columbia Heights, MN, Jeremy Ray Schultz of Alamosa, CO, Jacob (Ashley) Jarrett of Powell, WY, Wade (Terra) Robbins of Sturgis, SD, Jesse (Liberty) Robbins of Cheyenne, WY, Tisha (DJ) Duffield of Torrington, WY, and numerous cousins.
A celebration of life will be held October 30th at 1pm on Elliott Field at CSC, in case of inclement weather, services will be in the Chicoine sports complex. In honor of Gabe, we ask everyone to mask and social distance.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for the Big Sky Shrine Club and Make A Wish of Nebraska. Donations can be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron NE 69337