• Marissa Boyajian / NBC Sports

Both the beauty and the pain in Gabe Grunewald’s story lie in the aching paradox of her life. She was a fierce athlete who, when she laughed swept others up in her happiness. Yet at the age of 22, she was handed a diagnosis of incurable cancer. It is often the most joyful among us who are asked to shoulder the heaviest burdens. Therein lay the challenge of telling Gabe’s story – a deeply passionate life ended ruthlessly. By its structure, images, and words, “Hope: The Gabe Grunewald Story” captures that excruciating juxtaposition. We see Gabe in the opening sequence explaining to an audience that she lives in the face of an incurable cancer through her embrace of one word: “Hope”, which is also the core message of this piece. We learn the story of a tough little girl who grew into an indomitable woman, and hear the words of her family members, spoken through the deepest of pain. She devoted her life to building a foundation that would fight cancer long after she had left us. In the end, we hear the haunting melody of a song that she loved, performed in her memory. And we see her laugh again. So we laugh with her, even as we cry.


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