MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has declared Tuesday, June 25th, "Gabe Day" in Minnesota. The day will honor the life of champion runner Gabriele Grunewald on what would have been her 33rd birthday.
After living, and running, with rare cancers for the last decade, Grunewald passed away earlier this month. Her family is now planning a “Gabe Day” run to celebrate her incredible life and legacy.
"I just couldn't think of any better way to honor her and honor her legacy,” said Abby Anderson, Gabe’s sister. "Gabe got me into running when I was really young. I always looked up to her, always will.”
The “Gabe Day” run will begin at 6:15 p.m. from BF Nelson Park in Minneapolis. Anyone is welcome to show up for a 1.405 mile run or walk because 1,405 was Gabe’s favorite number.
"I've gotten out and ran every day since she's passed,” Abby said. "It’s helped me connect with her, and it's just something productive to do when you really don't know what else to do."
If you can’t make it, the family encourages people to run where they can, take a photo, and post it on social media using #bravelikegabe or #runningonhope.
“It’s hard,” said Gabe’s husband, Justin Grunewald. “But you just have to keep on moving and keep on being brave."
Justin Grunewald says that thinking inspired his wife's Brave Like Gabe Foundation, which raises money for rare cancer research. But Justin says he didn't realize the true power of her inspiration until he turned to Instagram to share information about her final days of life. That’s when he started to see all the support come flooding in.
"I read her thousands of messages and I think it was comforting for her, and for myself,” he said. “And it kind of gave me extra motivation to keep her foundation going and even strive for way more."
Justin, a physician, says he now plans to dedicate more time than ever to the foundation.
"I went into medicine to help people,” he said. “I think I can help even more people doing this."
And he's not the only one.
"It's important to spread her life and her legacy because we can all learn a lot from it,” Abby said. “And I think that's why she's captivated so many people."
If you would like to donate you can do so at the Brave Like Gabe official site.