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By Carolyn Mather
 
The title of this article comes from the concluding statement of Gabriele Grunewald at today's third annual AKTIV against cancer awards luncheon where Gabe was presented the Special Inspiration Award. AKTIV against cancer is an organization founded by nine time NYC Marathon Champion and Norwegian superstar Grete Waitz and current Executive Director Helle Aanesen in Norway in 2007. The organization has helped to create fifteen physical activity centers in cancer treatment hospitals throughout Norway and established an official presence in the United States in 2014.
 
Gabriele Grunewald, professional runner and amazing woman was diagnosed at age 22 with one of the rarest types of cancer-adenoid cystic carcinoma. Despite the diagnosis and now in her fourth battle with this disease, Gabe has continued as a top professional athlete and a woman of incredible strength and courage.
 
I have had the privilege of knowing Gabe as she ran for Brooks and Team USA Minnesota for many years. Gabe is the epitome of moving forward no matter what life throws your way as she has learned that life is not so simple. Although Gabe is not known for her distance running and contends at shorter distances than the marathon, she has found this battle is "my marathon" in life. She was not prepared for this journey but she has fought it with a tenacity found in committed runners. In fact the day after her initial diagnosis she donned her racing singlet and set a personal best on the track. This lady has the focus to do whatever needs to be done.
 
Although Gabe makes her living at running, she quickly learned that running is not life or death as life is full of uncertainty and we truly have to live in the present moment. It is all about perspective as my dear husband Steve told me many times.You have to continue to do what makes you feel alive. And despite the return of tumors after three surgeries and chemotherapy, Gabe has found that running is worth doing even if it is not perfect. "Running is my medicine" she stated as she is excited that she plans to race indoors in 2018.Her statement of "plans are when dreams are realized" gives her hope for the future.
 
Gabe has discovered with only 600 cases of this type of cancer in the United States, that there has been no research on this. So she has become "a lab rat" willing to try whatever the doctors entrusted with her care recommend. She has been making frequent trips to Sloan Kettering in New York City for her immunotherapy treatment and although that is now done and she moves on to a type of radiation therapy at the Mayo Clinic which is closer to her home in Minneapolis, there has been some necrosis in the tumors in her liver.
Published in Athletes