It takes determination to become a world-class athlete. It takes determination to face an ACC diagnosis and manage the disease over a decade. And it takes determination to share your painful and glorious journey in a very public way. Amazingly, Gabe Grunewald mustered the determination to handle all three efforts at the same time, becoming an inspirational icon for the world far beyond the ACC patient community.
Diagnosed with ACC in 2009 while a collegiate runner at the University of Minnesota, Gabe persevered and became the USA Indoor 3,000-meter champion in 2014. Surgery to remove liver metastases in 2016 left her with a prominent scar across her abdomen, a proud marker of her resilience. Gabe started the Brave Like Gabe foundation to raise awareness for rare cancers, attracting a large social media following and celebrities to her cause. She organized two Brave Like Gabe 5K races to support ACCRF, raising more than $100,000 for ACC research.
Although Gabe passed away on June 11, 2019, her bravery, sincerity and openness continue to set an example and spark the determination to persevere for anyone facing adversity.