What comes to mind when people hear the word cancer? Pain, suffering, and sadness? Do individuals ever think of the word “grace”? Probably not, unless they have met a champion like Gracie.
In her nine short years, Gracie has always been full of life, laughter and optimism. “From day one, she hit the ground running,” says her mom Jeanet. “She keeps all of us on our toes and makes us laugh and smile daily!” Gracie has been involved in dance, tumbling, softball, playing with friends, and simply living life to its fullest. Not a day goes by that Gracie isn’t willing to give her all.
Gracie’s zeal for life was challenged on March 1, 2017, when, after being ill with random infections and viruses, she was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). She faces a tough road ahead; her treatment will be over two years with regular spinal taps, infusion chemo, oral chemo, lots of blood draws, and the occasional hospital stay. In her daily life, she tries to go to school or play with friends as much as her energy level will tolerate. On many days, she can be found at home in bed letting her body heal.
But this amazing little girl is not letting her leukemia diagnosis define her. Instead, Gracie has been fighting this disease with courage and determination, showing her classmates, friends and family that she won’t be held down by this diagnosis and treatment.
“There are days when I am tired of being strong and holding everything together,” says Jeanet. “Unfortunately, it is not a choice but a way of life. Leukemia is affecting our life in ways we never imagined, but it will not break us, and more importantly, it will not break her.”
On April 4, Gracie received encouraging news: she is in remission. Although she is not cured, this news is a huge step forward. Her journey is far from over, but her family continues to focus on celebrating day-to-day achievements. They are surrounding Gracie with love and support as she continues to move forward.
“A person doesn’t go through an event like this without being impacted,” says Jeanet. “Gracie’s leukemia has changed our lives in so many ways. Our entire family has truly handled this diagnosis with such grace and courage by following her lead. She is our warrior princess.”