Artist donates fitting memorial for Ben Breedlove at Dell Children’s

Members of Ben's family join the sculpture's artist and hospital staff as the sculpture is unveiled. (KXAN Photo/Justin Hobby)
Members of Ben's family join the sculpture's artist and hospital staff as the sculpture is unveiled. (KXAN Photo/Justin Hobby)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The healing garden at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas — a quiet, serene place families and patients can catch some fresh air and escape the hospital walls — is growing.

Saturday morning, before the big reveal, a silver sheet was draped over a new sculpture.

“It took me about three weeks to make 90-percent of it, but I could never finish it,” said artist Bobby Jacobs.

The hand-carved angel wing was created with five large pieces of fossilized bluestone, and 145 smaller pieces crafted together. It sat in Jacobs’ workshop until his wife, Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs, showed him the viral YouTube video Ben Breedlove made shortly before he died at the age of 18 on Christmas Day 2011.

“He made that video his family didn’t know about it until he had passed away,” said Jacobs. “Fifteen million people around the world have watched him hold up cue cards.”

Like so many others, he was moved by Ben’s message. The Westlake High School student described living with a heart condition, going into cardiac arrest several times and in those moments feeling peace from up above.

“Our son Ben saw angels come to him when he was four and when he was seventeen,” said Ben’s mother Deanne Breedlove. “And he told our family they ministered to him and told him everything’s gonna be okay, don’t worry.”

The story led Jacobs to finish the sculpture, and donate it to the hospital in honor Ben. He called it “Gabriel.”

“[Ben’s] middle name is Daniel,” Deanne said. “In the Bible Gabriel visited Daniel and we just think it’s a beautiful coincidence or whatever you want to call it.”

The Breedlove family believes it will bring hope to others as they wander around the healing garden while facing some of their toughest days.

“I hope that when they see it they think about the things they cannot see,” his mother said. “I hope that they think about God’s presence and the peace that He has to offer them.”

Click here to read more about the artist Bobby Jacobs, Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs and the Angel Wings project. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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