Chip Gaines Honors Friend and Runner Gabriele Grunewald Following Death From Cancer at Age 32

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Gabriele Grunewald passed away from cancer
Photo courtesy Joanna Gaines Instagram

U.S. runner Gabriele Grunewald, a middle-distance runner who competed in distances from 800 meters to 5000 meters, passed away Tuesday (June 11) after a ten year battle with a rare metastatic cancer.

According to the New York Times, Gabriele’s cancer began in 2009 and returned in several forms over the next ten years. As a result of her numerous battles, Gabriele began using the motto “Brave Like Gabe,” which she also used as the name of her foundation for cancer research.

“My scars represent survival,” she wrote on Facebook this year. “My scars teach me to embrace my body and honor its strength. My scars are a physical manifestation of what often feels like an invisible disease. My scars tell my life’s story, and I’m pretty glad it’s not over yet.”

On Tuesday (June 11), Gabriele’s husband, Justin Grunewald, shared the devastating news of her death with fans.

“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,” Justin wrote. “@gigrunewald 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.”

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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. @gigrunewald 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. When @chipgaines made the final push in his #chipinchallenge I could feel your happiness building and could also see that this made you ready to head up to heaven. Chip thanks for helping her to go up so peacefully with no suffering. To everyone else from all ends of the earth, Gabriele heard your messages and was so deeply moved. She wants you to stay brave and keep all the hope in the world. Thanks for helping keep her brave in her time of need 😪🙏🏻 #keeprunningonhope #bravelikegabe 📸 @pixelcrave 📷 @kohjiro_kinno

A post shared by Justin Grunewald (@justingrunewald1) on

Justin went on to recognize Gabriele’s friend Chip Gaines for helping in his wife’s fight along the way.

“When @chipgaines made the final push in his #chipinchallenge I could feel your happiness building and could also see that this made you ready to head up to heaven,” Justin added. “Chip thanks for helping her to go up so peacefully with no suffering.”

In a last effort to help his friend, Chip had reached out to his followers on Instagram to make a request for donations, of which he would match.

“More than 10 years ago, my friend @gigrunewald was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer. I understand that Gabe is not a patient at @StJude, but right now, she is fighting for her life,” Chip wrote. “Cancer is ugly and it is mean and it doesn’t fight fair. This has gotten extremely personal.. so here’s what I’m going to do about it: I want us to hit that $500K mark by midnight tonight. So I will be personally matching all #ChipInChallenge donations made between now and midnight. ON TOP OF THAT, I’ll also be matching that amount in the form of a donation to the #BraveLikeGabe Foundation, in Gabe’s honor. That is 3x the power of your generosity in the fight against cancer.. and all YOU need to do is donate whatever you can to the #ChipInChallenge (link in bio) between now and midnight CT. I’ll take care of the rest. Together, we’re going to fight for those who are fighting for just one more day. This is for those precious kids at St. Jude.. we are pulling for you! And to my beautiful friend Gabe.. we love you and we are here for you every step of the way.”

Chip not only beat the goal of $500k, he went above and beyond. Chip later shared a post that they raised $2 million dollars in total for St. Jude and Brave Like Gabe Foundation, which supports rare cancer research and empowers all cancer survivors through physical activity.

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THANK YOU ALL—you blew this thing out of the water. Because of YOU, we have raised $1.49 million for @stjude and $512,000 for the @bravelikegabe Foundation. Over TWO MILLION DOLLARS raised for the fight against cancer! This campaign is proof that when we all work together for something bigger than ourselves, anything is possible. ⠀ ⠀ And to my friend @dudedadvlog, thank you for the original challenge and motivation to do something BIG. ⠀ ⠀ And of course, also to @lauren_daigle, @drewbarrymore, @arod, @jlo, @kevinlove, @spaceykacey, @jessiejamesdecker, and @floridageorgialine—thank YOU for spreading the word and helping crush our original $230,000 goal!! #ChipInChallenge⠀ ⠀ I’d do it all again for the brave kids @stjude—we will see you soon. And to my dear friend @gigrunewald, til we meet again. #notTodayCancer

A post shared by Chip Gaines (@chipgaines) on

“THANK YOU ALL—you blew this thing out of the water. Because of YOU, we have raised $1.49 million for @stjude and $512,000 for the @bravelikegabe Foundation,” Chip wrote.  “Over TWO MILLION DOLLARS raised for the fight against cancer! This campaign is proof that when we all work together for something bigger than ourselves, anything is possible.”

Chip also thanked the celebs who help support the cause and donate money. “And of course, also to @lauren_daigle@drewbarrymore@arod@jlo@kevinlove@spaceykacey@jessiejamesdecker, and @floridageorgialine—thank YOU for spreading the word and helping crush our original $230,000 goal!! #ChipInChallenge,” Chip added.

He concluded by saying, “And to my dear friend @gigrunewald, til we meet again. #notTodayCancer.”

R.I.P Gabriele.