MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - One of the toughest athletes on the professional scene these days comes in a 110-pound package.
An incredible dynamo under normal circumstances, Gabriele Grunewald is one of the fastest middle distance runners in the country. But consider the fact that she is currently fighting cancer for the fourth time in eight years and that makes her accomplishments even more impressive.
Gabriele Grunewald was a phenomenal runner at the University of Minnesota, where she was diagnosed with cancer for the first time--adenoid cystic carcinoma, to be exact. It first appeared in her salivary glands.
Shortly after that she found out about an unrelated case of thyroid cancer, with a subsequent stretch of about six years with no cancer.
It was only a matter of time, however, before the adenoid cystic carcinoma appeared again in her liver in 2016 and once again in 2017.
“Last July, I competed in the US Olympic Trials. A few weeks later I had surgery to remove half my liver and a tumor,” Grunewald said in a documentary titled “Gabe” that was produced by Brooks Running, her professional sponsor.
Through it all, perhaps the only constant in her life has been competition, running two races this summer while undergoing chemotherapy.
Now that the chemo isn’t working, she travels back and forth from her home in Minnesota to New York to be part of a clinical trial at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“The attitude I have as a runner helped me to persevere as a cancer survivor and cancer patient too,” she said.
People are so drawn to Grunewald and her strength that the hashtag #bravelikegabe has started to spread on Twitter and the documentary produced by Brooks is being screened at running stores across the country.
Just 31, she hopes she can continue to pursue her Olympic dreams and start a family. Mostly, she just hopes she can survive long enough for the treatments to catch up.
To see “Gabe” the documentary, click here.