Publish date:

Professional runner, Minnesota's Gabe Grunewald, dies after brave cancer battle

"We run on hope. We run for research. We are not giving up." - Gabriele Grunewald.
Author:

Former Gopher and professional runner Gabriele "Gabe" Grunewald has died after a decade-long battle with cancer. 

The 32-year-old Minnesotan, who graduated from Perham High School in 2004, was placed in end of life care on Sunday due to worsening liver function. Her husband, Justin Grunewald, made her condition public so supporters could send one last message to her "before she heads up to heaven." 

He announced her death on Tuesday evening, writing: "At 7:52 I said 'I can’t wait until I get to see you again' to my hero, my best friend, my inspiration, my wife.

"I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hole in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind. Your family loves you dearly as do your friends."

Justin Grunewald had written Monday afternoon that Gabe was "resting peacefully and breathing easy" at home, enjoying renovations "Fixer Upper" stars Chip and Joanna Gaines recently made to their condo. Gabe was Chip's running coach. 

Through her non-profit Brave Like Gabe – a foundation that supports rare cancer research – Grunewald explained why she continued running and training throughout multiple cancer diagnosis. 

"It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been the right decision for me," she's quoted as saying. "From the very first day I was told I had cancer in 2009, I knew running would be a big part of my journey back to health. It has truly been my refuge; when everything else seems to be going wrong and the outcomes are far beyond my control, I can find perspective and hope on the run. I believe that continuing to pursue my goals on the track has helped me to carry on with purpose in my life in the face of an uncertain future."

As a 22-year-old in April 2009, she was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma. In October 2010, doctors found papillary thyroid cancer that she battled and defeated in December 2011. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

In 2012, Grunewald finished one place shy of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics and she was determined to compete for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Cancer struck again in July 2016 with doctors confirming the metastatic recurrence of adenoid cystic carcinoma. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor and about half of her liver. Less than a year later, in March 2017, cancer was again found on her liver. 

Through it all, she continued to run and train because running gave her a "mental boost" that she wished she could "share with every cancer survivor." 

"Being brave, for me, means not giving up on the things that make me feel alive," she said. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Large police presence at Emagine Willow Creek movie theater in Plymouth

There are few details at this stage as to what has happened.

Maple Grove Police Department

Maple Grove-based businessman convicted of fatally shooting wife

Wiseman owns properties in both Minnesota, Nevada and China.

betty and earls biscuits facebook

Jason Matheson's biscuit shop to briefly close ahead of relaunch

Betty & Earl's will shut down for two weeks before reopening under a new name.

Simon Merino Go Fund Me

Worker dies in forklift accident at paper recycling business

The victim was described as a loving father of two who was devoted to his church.

rosie means - go fund me

Authorities ID woman killed by hit-and-run driver who ran red light

A fundraiser was created to support the family after the "sudden and senseless loss."

Prior Lake Football

Watch: Prior Lake stuns Rosemount with last-second hook and ladder

The Lakers dusted off an old favorite to get a victory on Thursday night.

unsplas - maple leaf frost fall lawn

MN gets its first frost advisories, freeze warnings of the season

The coldest spots could dip to below 30 degrees overnight.

Fleck

Ahead of Big Ten clash, Huskers fans spend their Friday mocking PJ Fleck

Huskers fans are in a playful mood ahead of Saturday's game.

Jamal Smith

New 1st-degree murder charge for man accused in youth coach's killing

A grand jury indicted the suspect in connection with the shooting of Jay Boughton.

trick or treating halloween

COVID: Mayo Clinic's tips for staying safe while trick-or-treating

A layered approach, especially for those who aren't vaccinated, is recommended.

Walz

'My patience level is gone': Walz calls on lawmakers to help hospital strain

The governor said only legislators can enact some of the needed measures.

Related

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 3.53.14 PM

Ex-Gopher, pro-runner Gabe Grunewald enters end of life care

The 32-year-old has inspired many during her battle with cancer.

Gabe Grunewald

Grunewald 'resting peacefully' at home as messages of love pour in

The ex-Gopher and pro runner is at home resting in comfort care.

Screen Shot 2021-08-16 at 4.58.09 PM

Sister of late track star Gabe Grunewald dies after being struck twice by same driver

Abigail Anderson, 29, suffered fatal injuries in the Sunday evening incident.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 5.43.27 PM

World pays tribute to inspirational Gabe Grunewald

The 32-year-old leaves a huge legacy following her death.

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 5.43.27 PM

Runners to honor Gabe Grunewald in Minneapolis on Tuesday

Tuesday will also be proclaimed 'Gabe Grunewald Day' in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2019-10-19 at 7.44.47 PM

Gophers rally for cancer research ahead of border battle

Two prominent Gopher names are leading the effort.

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 6.35.04 AM

Six months after Gabe Grunewald's death, husband to buy beers in her honor

Justin Grunewald is covering the bar tab at a Minneapolis brewery next week.

Tessie Sylvester

Mother dies after battle with cancer diagnosed hours after husband's death

The Sylvester family has experienced a double tragedy.