If you thought you were the biggest fan of the Edmonton Elks, then you haven’t met Elks Superfan, Francis Tymchuk. A fan of Edmonton football for his entire life, Francis permanently tattooed his arm with the famous “Double-E” logo of the Edmonton Elks. But wait, that’s not all…Superfan Francis also inked on his arm a Hall of Fame legend, Henry “Gizmo” Williams (aka The Giz).
Before etching his skin for the rest of his life, Superfan Francis definitely put much thought into what he was going to do. He wanted to do something special and meaningful. Francis recalls meeting The Giz in the year 2000 when he was 14 years old.
“I was in Ontario visiting family with my mom and dad, and the (at the time) Eskimos happened to be playing the Tiger-Cats. Before the game, Gizmo was running laps around the field, and each time I shouted out his name. Finally, on the third lap, he heard me and came over to chat. He also gave me an autograph on a notepad that my mom had with her.”– Francis Tymchuk – 17 February 2022
Two years later, Superfan Francis found himself at Gizmo’s EE Wall of Honour induction game on September 21, 2002. This was a significant moment in Francis’ life, because two days later, his mother disclosed that she had breast cancer. After a brave battle for over two years, his mother passed away in March of 2005.
Pilgrimages to the Grey Cup
Several months later, Francis and his father made the trek west, to watch Edmonton, led by QB Ricky Ray, beat Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes in the thrilling 2005 Grey Cup Championship (which is why the Grey Cup and the year 2005 is tattooed on his arm).
Superfan Francis, a teacher, who lives and works near Calgary, has battled Major Depressive Disorder, and in November 2015, his medications stopped working effectively and he had to temporarily step away from his career. He and his dad, then made another trip, this time eastward to Winnipeg. They were able to watch future Hall of Famer, QB Michael Reilly defeat Ottawa in the 2015 Grey Cup (which is why he has the year 2015 tattooed on his arm).
Flipping Back to The Giz
When Superfan Francis learned about Gizmo’s life story (watch on YouTube), he began to identify with The Giz’s “perseverance even when things were hard.”
“After the obstacles and challenges that I have gone through, I wanted to get a tattoo of him to represent determination.”– Francis Tymchuk -17 February 2022
Francis Tymchuk chose to tattoo a portrait of Henry “The Gizmo” Williams on his arm to represent both of their positive outlooks on life. The tattooed autograph below the image, is the same one that Tymchuk was given on his mother’s notepad in Hamilton back in 2000. Aside from permanently attaching The Giz’s image and name to his arm, Francis would later have a daughter who would share the exact same birthday as the Hall of Fame kick-return legend. There is still some room on Francis’ arm, so maybe the tattoo artist can get the 2022 ink ready to go! #AntlerUp
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