Who Is Justin Grunewald? New Details On Professional Runner Gabriele Anderson Grunewald’s Husband

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Justin Grunewald? New Details On Professional Runner Gabriele Anderson Grunewald’s Husband
Contributor

“There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle, the other as though everything is a miracle.”

Professional middle-distance runner Gabriele Anderson-Grunewald was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and was able to manage it for the last 10 years. She recently lost the battle, but her husband Justin was right by her side the entire time.

What’s there to know? Who is Justin Grunewald?

1. She was diagnosed with multiple kinds of cancers over the years

In 2009, she was diagnosed with a rare salivary gland cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma. The following year she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and then the adenoid cystic carcinoma returned in 2016 and 2017.

2. Justin had their condo spruced up for her final return home

As Gabe’s condition worsened, the couple made the difficult decision to move her to comfort care and forgo further treatment. He asked Gabe’s fans and followers to send over any parting messages. Chip and Joanna Gaines of the home-renovation TV show Fixer Upper (the former of whom Gabe trained when he ran his first marathon last year) helped enhance their home with some finishing touches before she came home for comfort care.

RELATED: 30 Motivational Quotes For Runners From The World's Most Famous Athletes

3. #NotToday

In an Instagram post, he explained what happened when he received the news. He was informed by alarmed nurses rushing them to the ICU that Gabe’s morning labs had come back with a lactate of 23 and pH was 6.9, values which are incompatible with life. He “immediately ran out of the hospital crying.” While medical professionals started fluid resuscitation, placed a PICC line, and gave her two units of blood, but her numbers continued to worsen. Throughout the process, she was relatively blissfully unaware.

Shortly after Justin told Gabe she was dying, she took a deep breath and yelled “NOT TODAY.”

4. His farewell letter to her called her his hero and best friend

He actually wrote the letter a few years ago. One of the sweetest paragraphs in it reads, “I know life is scary and I know we have won the lottery of uncertainty, and it’s not fair, but I still choose our life of uncertainly and at times fear, over any alternative option I could think of. I have so much fun with you and have learned more from having you as my best friend and wife than I learned in the rest of my life combined.”

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

RELATED: Chase Him Down: 9 Reasons To Fall In Love With A Runner

5. They were both more concerned about helping others than the glory winning

Since her personal motto was to continue being brave, which for her meant not giving up on the things that make her feel alive, Gabe started a rare-cancer nonprofit called “Brave Like Gabe."

She founded it because she remembered how devastated she felt when she realized how little research had been done on her kind of cancer and that there were no FDA-approved treatments for it. It made her feel like the medical research community didn’t really care about her cancer. Accordingly, the organization’s fundraising efforts support research and accelerate treatments for rare cancer patients. She would also use the platform to empower cancer survivors to move their bodies, because she firmly believed in the holistic benefit of incorporating physical activity into one’s life, cancer survivor or not.

Gabe became an NCAA track & field All-American with a runner-up finish in the 1500-meters, but as her husband says, “At the end of the day, people won’t remember the [personal records] run or the teams qualified for, but they will remember that hard period in their life where they were losing hope but they found inspiration in a young lady who refuses to give up.”

Leah Scher is an ENFP finishing her degree at Brandeis University. She's an alumna of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. She's passionate about Judaism, poetry, film, satire, astrology, spirituality, and sexual health. She draws inspiration for her writing from writer/director Wes Anderson, and for her lifestyle from her grandmother. Lastly, she's always actively seeking two things: a job having anything at all to do with publishing, and a chance to meet Jesse Eisenberg.