Gabriele Grunewald's husband pens heartbreaking letter asking friends and fans to send her "last message before she heads up to heaven"
The professional runner was initially diagnosed with a rare salivary gland cancer in 2009 and thyroid cancer in 2010
Justin Grunewald has asked his social media followers to send “one last message” to his wife, Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald, before she “heads up to heaven.” On Sunday, Grunewald revealed his professional runner wife had been moved to comfort care after her condition began to worsen.
The painful decision came just two days after Gabe, who gained thousands of fans over the years by sharing her inspiring cancer story, was readmitted to the ICU because she was experiencing septic shock.
“It breaks my heart to say but overnight Gabriele’s status worsened with worsening liver function causing confusion," Grunewald began.
"Wanting to do her no harm we have made the difficult decision to move her to comfort cares this afternoon,” he sadly announced on Instagram. “I wanted to let you all know while she is still alive so you can send her one last message here or on her wall or on her phone before she heads up to heaven,” Grunewald added.
The 32-year-old former track and cross-country athlete for the University of Minnesota was first diagnosed with a rare salivary gland cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2009. And just a year later, the Perham native further learned that she also had thyroid cancer.
In another Instagram post, Grunewald further shared that Gabe had been moved to comfort care. "There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle, the other as though everything is a miracle," he wrote, captioning the photo showing Gabe resting on her couch, surrounded by family.
"We got her home to our comfy couch and she is resting peacefully and breathing easy surrounded by her best friends and family," Grunewald continued, adding that she "made it home in time to see some extra special finishes"
Chip and Joanna Gaines and Brock Murphy, director of public relations for Magnolia, made to Justin and Gabe's condo. "For that, I have no words," he said.
Ever since her initial diagnosis, Gabe has continued to run amid her surgeries and treatments. While watching Gabe fight a few years back, Grunewald said he wrote her a letter to describe what she meant to him. That note, along with a heartbreaking photo of the couple holding hands in the hospital, was also shared to his Instagram on Sunday.
“Dear Gabriele,” he began. “First, thank you. Thank you so much for showing me what it’s like to be and feel alive. It’s easy to pass through life day to day and punch a time card wishing away the hours. Currently, although I don’t always show it, I cherish every second.”
“Whether we are out running, binging on a new Netflix series, or just lying in bed being lazy. Nothing beats the feeling I get when I see your smiling face,” he continued. “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,” he sweetly wrote.
“I know you have been given the heaviest of tasks in life… but I don’t think you were chosen by random chance, and again I know that’s not fair but you are so amazing at being you and that’s why I feel brave like Gabe is so special,” he wrote.
“Because there isn’t a word in the dictionary for what you do or who you are,” Grunewald continued. “Brave flails in comparison to what you are to me and to so many people out there facing the simplest and silliest of struggles in day to day life.”
“At the end of the day people won’t remember the PRs 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,” he finished. “I love you.”