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Burien man dying of cancer devastated by stolen Seahawks flag

burien coupleBURIEN — The 12th man flag means a lot to a lot of people in the Puget Sound.

But to one Burien couple, it’s more than a flag – it’s a symbol of the life they have built together.

That symbol has been ripped away by a heartless thief before what could be their last game together.

To Allen and Tina Ball, the flag symbolizes hope and that is something so crucial for them right now.  They are going through the hardest time of their lives: Allen has been diagnosed with cancer and his days are numbered.

Allen and Tina’s romance blossomed during a football game in 1994. Ironically enough, it was during a Seahawks versus Broncos game.

“I was actually yelling at Elway,” Tina said. “That is when he came up to me and he said ‘I like your attitude.’ We have been together ever since.”

As lifelong Seahawks fans, they’ve collected ways to show their support. Each item has a story behind it.

“We have Jerome, the 12th man traveling gnome,” Tina said as she pointed to a garden gnome painted in Seahawk colors.

One of Allen’s favorite items was a flag he got for Father’s Day years ago. They were devastated when they discovered someone stole it overnight.

“When I saw the hook there – somebody had really yanked it off – it was really hard not to burst into tears and cry,” Tina said.

It’s more than just a flag. It’s a reminder of better days.

“It’s the history, this is our last season together,” Tina said.

Allen is dying of lung cancer and he was too sick to be interviewed Thursday. Doctors gave him a year to live and that year is already up.

“Our little piece of joy was every Sunday and seeing the flag every time we pulled back up in the driveway,” Tina said.

Tina is convinced the Seahawks Super Bowl run is giving her husband the will to hang on a little longer.

“It may sound cheesy, but I really believe that is what’s keeping him going right now,” Tina said.

In spite of doctor’s visits and treatment, Allen hasn’t missed a game and last week’s NFC Championship win left him smiling for days.

“We are watching the ball and when it was caught he goes ‘Did you see that? We are going to the Super Bowl!’ Tina said. “I’m jumping up and down ‘We are going to the Super Bowl!'”

Tina is expecting the Super Bowl to be their last game together. All she wants is one more perfect Sunday.

“If you bring it back, that is the end of it,” Tina said. “I don’t want to know who you are. I don’t want to chase you down. Just please bring it back – his is all we’ve got right now.”

Allen will be rooting for Doug Baldwin – his favorite player this season – and the rest of the Seahawks at home, surrounded by loved ones during the Super Bowl.

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23 comments

    • charles tenesch

      How can I get them a flag and see if I could get some seahawks to help give this coulple a great super bowl , by a short vist to rhis coulpe home.saturday, before their flight sunday.

  • Patty

    I hate people that steal ;-( They don't stop to think what they are really taking from people. 'Karma' will get them at some point!!! God bless you Allen & Tina & GO HAWKS <3

  • Evan Kovac

    Does anyone know how to start a fund and spread this story around similar to Marshawn’s media penalty fund, to send this couple to the SB? How awesome would that be? With a little awareness we could raise the money overnight. Hawks may even donate the tickets.

  • ModestPrude

    I know that I will get big-time dissed by Seahawks fans, and no, I am not a Broncos fan, I am someone who simply doesn't get the importance of a game that can cause such serious injuries to those who play it, so I don't even watch football at all.

    while it is bad that this man's flag was stolen, and also very kind that people are stepping up volunteering to get him another flag, his placing so much importance on a piece of fabric, when he has his loving wife, friends (I am guessing since the football flag is so important that this is not a church going couple, because then he would be relying on his faith not a flag) are all much more important.

    when this man does die, does he think that St. Peter will greet him with a 12th man flag? GOD is OUR 12th man, and so much more important!

    ok 12th man-ers and woman-ers, go ahead and sling away at me….

    • Susan Elliott

      @ModestPrude No slinging except, Judging is wrong… And yes whoever meets this man when he goes may have a 12th man flag. Bless you Allen and Tina.What a wonderful love story and my prayers are with you.. Allen, The HAWKS are awesome… Someone get this man a 12th man flag!!!!!

    • Mitch Blondin

      wow…you must be a troll….Go pray to your God…I think you "guessing this couple is not church-going" says a lot about you…

    • Tina Ball

      My husband has a very strong faith in God. He prays every morning and every night for me, his family and friends and still holding that maybe we can beat the cancer, which we know we can't. If that is what you got out of the story then maybe you read it wrong. What we have left is our last game together we had that joy for 19 years we love to watch the game together and that flag was part of our fun traditions we had every season, this years has been about doing the things we have always done because it helped Allen feel as normal as he could because he knew this was it. We are living on bonus time right now and that flag was just a joy we had and knowing we kept mending it so it would be hanging for Super Bowl made him feel good and added a few smiles. He had a little of his old excitement back when the Hawks won and were going to NJ and that is what that flag symbolized and the God we believe in would not begrudge him this final joy. Go Hawks

    • Bob Figueroa

      I tell you what, I hate the Seahawks. I'm a 49s fan but there is no reason for someone to go take something so important from this couple, whether it be a flag or whatever it may be. I know these people personally and for you to make a a comment like you have here is disgusting and not something a church going person would say. Didn't your parents ever teach you that if you have nothing good to say, KEEP YOU DAMMED MOUTH SHUT. I love you Tina and Allen, this your 49er buddy, Bobby

  • RickMyMorgan

    ModestPrude,
    I'm not going to sling at you, but I am perplexed why it matters to you what Al and Tina find important. I've known them for years, having worked closely with Al starting back in 1994. These are two of the sweetest people I know and I find their story personally touching. Then you, amid comments of support and love from total strangers, have to impose your opinion (which, of course, you are entitled to) on what is important to you onto them.

    Whatever happened to the old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" I was taught that as a child, and if I ever see an article on someone dying of cancer, I don't think of ways to criticize it. Whether you agree with it or not, football is a game that these people love, and they love it together. Al and Tina bonded over this game and continue to do so, right up to the end, and that is beautiful to me. Had you thought that, maybe, having that one extra game means he gets to experience that bonding feeling with this loving wife one more time? Did it occur to you that it might also be about his friends and family in those moments that are ALSO as important as the game itself?

    As for the flag, if I said the American flag was just fabric, would you agree? I know many people wouldn't. If I said your church was just a pile of building materials, would you agree? Or that your bible was just ink and paper? It doesn't matter if you don't care about Al's flag. It matters to him because of the person who gave it to him. Did you miss that it was a father's day gift? Do you know the story between him and his child?

    This is America and you have the freedom to say whatever you want, but that doesn't mean that you should do that at every opportunity. Sometimes, you can stay quiet. It's ok to do that. If I read a story about you (even though I have no idea who you are) sitting with a dying relative who just wants to read bible passages or go to church one last time, I will finish reading it, feel some emotion for a stranger going through this last phase of their life, and move on. I don't feel the need to question their faith or how they want to spend the last couple weeks of their life. That was all that was required of you.

    I'll be honest, if I didn't know Al, I wouldn't have posted. However, I would still have read your comment and thought that you were, well, not a very nice person and would be thankful that you weren't a part of my life. Hopefully, you are a better person than your post would suggest.

  • mmmliz

    As a member of Allen and Tina’s family, the comment questioning their values made my blood boil. However, Ricky Morgan has already eloquently said everything I was thinking, so I’ll thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes. Best city, best team, best fantom. Period.

    • Tina Ball

      Thank you for the unselfish kindness you have offered. We did get a flag from some wonderful people and we are truly blessed. The 12th man is an inspiration to all NL fans. Go Hawks!

  • Eddie R.

    I think it would be incredible if this families house was draped in Hawks flags. As reported. The flag is more than just a piece of cloth. It's a symbol of their life spent together. From day one it has been about the Seahawks and now at what may be the unfortunate end, it's where it began. You can't write a better story line. So incredible! I would also like to give my flag as well as another for the memory that this story will carry on for a long time. I'm In!

  • June

    ModestPrude–How did that make you feel? Karma is a real bitch ya know.
    You have a choice about what you want to communicate. Why on earth would you choose to be so nasty?
    Like you said, this has nothing to do with football, 12th man, Seahawks, etc. It's just you trolling and trying to get any reaction to your mess. Hope you go to bed tonight satisfied and sanctified.

    I hope you and yours never experience a setback or devastating illness. Go spread that joy of yours somewhere else now. I think you're on a mission. Sick children are real easy targets too. Knock yourself out.

    • CuzD

      ModestPrud You insulted my family for no reason other than you have no manners and no personality from the sound of it. I couldn’t love Al and Tina more and know how much this means. Just one lady perfect game. There are little things that mean so much to memories when you face the end of a life together. I know because I am hoping my father hold on to live to see the game too. Please take a class on manners or better yet learn to just shut up. The world would be a much happier place if you kept you rude comments to your self.

  • Goodfriend

    ModestPrud. I have read your comments and all the comments made in response to you. I would pray that someday you would see that all your asshole behavior is unacceptable. You don't know Tina or Al….I personally know both of them, have known them for years. Its too bad you chose to be so nasty to such great people. For whatever reason you decided to dish on them, you should be ashamed….as many have said already, if you don't have anything nice to say, and you don't know the people or the facts accurate…maybe you should keep your dammed mouth shut. I hope that nothing like this ever happens to you….because I'm just that kind of person. I would love for you to feel like crap for the rest of you pitiful life…which I hope for you is a really long one. Life is meant to be lived with joy, love, family and laughter…maybe you should go find some.