DENVER — Martin Howe took his first dose of chemo on his 18th birthday last September.
Two weeks ago, he got the prognosis: Doctors said lymphoma will take his life in a few weeks.
"I’m living my life right now 60 minutes at a time," said Martin Howe's dad, Justin Howe. I’m filling the next hour of our life with as much energy as I possibly can.”
The family, which includes Martin Howe's mom and 3-week-old sister, packed their bags in Portland, Oregon and moved to Denver to pack as many Colorado things into Martin Howe's life as they could.
"What prompted moving out to Colorado?" Justin Howe asked his son.
"Look behind you," Martin Howe responded, choking up.
He was looking at all the people gathering for an early tailgate outside the Broncos Stadium.
“They all love you Martin, you know that?" said his dad, pointing to everyone who showed up. "That’s all this is, a bunch of people that love you.”
Martin Howe met the woman who organized it seven years ago in the stands at his first Broncos game.
“He asked for it, so we made it happen," said Catherine Schemmerling. "He always wanted to move to Colorado when he graduated high school."
His dad thinks Martin Howe chose to root for the Broncos because he liked their mascot as a little kid, but the love grew stronger every year.
Now they are trying to pack in as many Colorado sports activities as possible before time runs out.
Peyton Manning surprised him during a tour of the practice stadium, and announcers at a Nuggets game gave Martin Howe the microphone.
Still, it's all so bittersweet.
“We like to say for his final ride," Justin said. "There’s no better place we’d like to be than Colorado."
Throughout his journey, Martin has relied on the saying #NittyStrong to help him through the hard times.
“My name backwards, Martin, is Nitrim, and so my family started calling me Nitty," he said. "And it means to never give up. The whole message means to never give up."
His parents plan to spread that message after he's gone.
“After the time we have left, I always liked to see how his eyes lit up when we walked into a sports stadium, we want to pass that on to people," Justin said. "We want to send people to sporting events in his honor. We want them to wear the #NittyStrong bracelets like we have for months now and we just want to pay it forward.”
The family has a GoFundMe to help pay for bracelets and experiences for Martin. Whatever they don't use, they plan to pay forward to help other kids.
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