In 2016 Gabriele Grunewald failed to make it to the Olympic Games in Rio. Soon after experiencing this upset she was diagnosed with her fourth bout of cancer. She is battling adenoid cystic carcinoma. When she was first diagnosed in 2009 it was found in her salivary gland, but this time it returned in her liver. For the rest of her summer she spent time trying to figure out how any possible way she could get back to running. Gabriele was not going to let this diagnosis stop her. She underwent surgery on August 26th, 2016 and woke up with great news that the tumor was completely removed! She left the hospital with a giant 13in incision across her stomach. As time went on and she slowly healed, Gabriele got back into training. Unfortunately she had a post-op scan in March of 2017 that showed she still has cancer in her liver. This time a surgery wasn’t going to take care of it, she needed treatment.
Since Gabriele found out about the cancer she hasn’t let the bad news tear her down, rather she uses it to build herself up. Running is her therapy. It keeps her mind away from the overwhelming thoughts about her life and future. She says, “when I’m in the middle of a workout I’m not thinking about surviving cancer, I’m just trying to survive the workout.” With this mentality she has been able to compete and continue to train. Her goal was to run the qualifying standard to compete in the 1500m at the 2017 USA Track & Field Championships and she did just that. Gab was accepted in the 1500m and will be competing in the USA championships on June 22-25th in Sacramento.
What’s so honorable about this story is that track and field is what keeps her spirits high. Her love for the sport has taught her how to fight through these incredibly tough times and it has not let her down. She fulfills her goals. Her attitude is powerful, motivating, and touching to us all. She is not only an inspiration to women in track and field, but to women all over the world who are fighting battles of their own. She has taught us that no matter how hard life gets, never let anything keep you from achieving your dreams. As Gabriele states, “Cancer can stop you from doing a lot of things, I’m well aware of that. But I’m more interested in what cancer can’t stop me from doing. Here’s to finding out.”
According to USA Track and Field, “USA Track & Field (USATF) and the American Cancer Society on Wednesday announced a joint effort to raise money for the fight against cancer, leveraging Team USATF’s athletic achievements to help beat cancer.” Punctuated by a public service announcement featuring USATF two-time Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor and 2014 USATF indoor champion Gabriele Grunewald , herself a cancer survivor, Together: Nothing Is Impossible encourages Americans to pledge money for each medal Team USATF wins at the IAAF WorldChampionships this August in London
The public service announcement will make its TV broadcast debut during NBCSN coverage this weekend of the USATF Outdoor Championships. Supporters can pledge at nothingisimpossible.com.”
To learn more about Gabriele and her story read this article: Pro Runner or Cancer Surviver?
Feature Photo Cred: @anniemgo