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Plan a Run for Rare Cancer Research

Published on | RIA | News & Updates

“We run on hope. We run for research. We are not giving up.” – Gabe Grunewald
Runner at Brave like Gabe
Runner at Brave like Gabe

Contributed by Alyssa Hawkins, Brave Like Gabe Foundation Executive Director

Gabriele Grunewald, a professional runner and rare cancer advocate, created the Brave Like Gabe Foundation to inspire people to share stories of being brave through their own struggles while also helping to find better and more effective treatments for rare cancer.

Diagnosed during her collegiate running career with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, Gabe was faced with a rare, incurable disease with no FDA-approved treatments or therapies. For the next 10 years she would experience recurrences, surgeries, and trials that she hoped would allow her to lead a full, long life. Indeed, she did a lot of living in that time – becoming a professional athlete and competing at the highest level, getting married, traveling the world, and starting the Brave Like Gabe Foundation.

Gabe passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on through Brave Like Gabe where our mission  is to support rare cancer research and empower all cancer survivors through physical activity. The Brave Like Gabe Foundation has since granted $1.8 million to research at institutions  across the nation. There is more we can do. That’s where you come in!

Brave Like Gabe hosts an annual 5K event every September in St. Paul, Minnesota to raise awareness and funds for rare cancer research. Since the pandemic, we have added a popular virtual option as well as pop-up events nationwide where running stores and groups host a low-key (No timing! No permits!) 5K to celebrate Gabe and her legacy. The most successful pop-ups have been in running stores where people regularly meet for a group run, and an easy 5K course is accessible from the store. Participants officially register for the race and receive their race bib and T-shirt there at the store on race day.

This year Brave Like Gabe is aiming to grow the number of pop-up events happening in stores across the country. Our goal: more people who know about Brave Like Gabe, and more registrations for the event, which equals more money for rare cancer research.

We want to make this as easy as possible for stores! We encourage each participating store to pick a day for the pop-up in September that works best for them. Choose a day you already host a group run, or plan a new, stand-alone event to bring in new folks (donut run, anyone?). Offer a small store discount to encourage people to shop while they are on site, and compete against stores around the country for the highest number of participants! Awards will be given!

Don’t just take it from us! Our partners at the Brooks Trailhead store in Seattle say:

At Brooks, we’re committed to community engagement and supporting causes aligned with our values. Hosting a pop-up location for the Brave Like Gabe 5K allows us to:

Engage Locally: Connect with our community in Seattle and beyond, rallying support for rare cancer research through participation and fundraising.

Raise Awareness: Spread awareness about the Brave Like Gabe Foundation and honor Gabe Grunewald’s inspiring legacy.

Running + Coffee + Raising money for rare cancer research = a perfect Saturday morning!

Want to know more? Click here to express interest – this doesn’t commit you to anything but learning more about this opportunity.

In the past few years we have gathered at more than 10 locations nationwide:

  • Atlanta, GA with West Stride Running Store
  • Bend, OR with Footzone
  • Denver / Boulder, CO with Berkeley Park Running Company
  • Eugene, OR with RunHubNW
  • Okemos, MI with Playmakers
  • Omaha, NE with Peak Performance
  • Northampton, MA with Marathon Sports
  • Pasadena, CA with the Doghaus Running Club
  • Portland, OR with Portland Running Company
  • Rochester, MN with TerraLoco
  • Seattle, WA with the Brooks Trailhead Store

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