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Brave Like Gabe

Brave Like Gabe

The most amazing part about goodr’s Co-Brand Program is that the goodr team gets to flamingle with incredible humans doing extraordinary things for the world. It is inspiring in many ways.
A recent Co-Brand collaboration was with the Brave Like Gabe Foundation. The result: these white with blue mirrored reflective Running on Hope sunglasses. These sunglasses represent the passion and drive of Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald, a professional runner, who never gave up hope.

Brave Like Gabe goodr co-brand sunglasses white sunglasses with blue lenses
Brave Like Gabe started as a hashtag, while Gabriele endured her third battle with rare salivary gland cancer in 2017. Running and physical activity were a consistent form of comfort and relief during her cancer journey, and she wanted to share that with the world. With the mission to, “Support rare cancer research and empower all cancer survivors through physical activity,” the non-profit Brave Like Gabe Foundation came to life.
Justin Grunewald, CEO and President of the Brave Like Gabe Foundation, explained there is a lack of dedicated research for rare cancers. With a mission to find more effective treatments, the funds raised by the Brave Like Gabe Foundation go to support all rare cancers, including adenoid cystic carcinoma, the cancer that took Gabriele’s life in June 2019, at age 32. Gabriele’s story and her passion for life and running is powerful. Watch it here:

goodr’s Chief Publishing Pelican connected with Justin of the Brave Like Gabe Foundation because A) she heard Justin was cool AF and was a little jealous that the Master of Co-Brands gets to meet all of these rad people, and B) We really wanted to learn more about Gabriele’s story and share it with the goodr fam. This is what we learned from our chat with Justin, may it inspire you to let your hope guide you with strength and courage:
Justing and Gabe Grunewald with goodr sunglasses
What’s your spirit animal and why?
The Wolf! Justin had a surreal encounter with a timber wolf while running in Winnipeg, Canada, so this was the first animal that came to mind. It ran alongside him. Can you imagine!?? Thankfully, Justin is a freaking gazelle in Brooks (shout out! #notanad) running shoes, so he trotted along and soaked in the experience. The wolf as a spirit animal symbolizes sharp intelligence, loyalty, and emotional stability. The wolf drives one to display courage. All of which seems very fitting for Justin.

If you had unlimited funds to travel ANYWHERE, where would it be and what would you do there?

As a medical doctor Justin has a unique schedule allowing him to travel often. He just spent two weeks in Patagonia and his adventures there sounded breathtaking. Definitely a place he’d return to. Justin promised goodr’s CEO, Carl the Flamingo, that if he ever goes back he’d try to link up with his Chilean flamingo cousin Camila who sometimes vacations down there.

What is your favorite part about the work you do for Brave Like Gabe?

“The mission of Brave Like Gabe is to fund rare cancer research. In doing so, the organization has created a lifestyle. It is all about finding hope and moving forward. Whether you have cancer, depression, anxiety-- if you can keep going, anything is possible.”

Justin shared a story about Joel Stetler. An amazing human who raised thousands of dollars and ran the New York City Marathon as a part of the Brave Like Gabe Foundation Team the month he was diagnosed with incurable Stage 4 cancer. It is stories like this, about people pressing on despite the cards they’ve been dealt, continuing to follow their dreams, while helping humanity, that are so beautifully inspiring.

If you could pick one of Gabe’s amazing quotes to permanently engrain in every human’s mind, what would it be?

“It’s okay to struggle. It’s not okay to give up.” ~ Gabriele Grunewald

You have to keep finding that forward momentum. Carl said he wants this quote tattooed under his flight feathers.

During the times that Gabe couldn’t run, what coping mechanisms did she use?

“When Gabriel couldn’t run, she hopped on the bike. When she couldn't do that, she funneled her energy into the foundation. She organized the first Brave Like Gabe 5k from her hospital bed, always making sure to focus her energy on positive initiatives.”

Challenging situations tend to bring out the best of humanity, can you give an example where someone went above and beyond?

“Last year was terrible.” Justin lost his wife and founder of Brave Like Gabe. However, to see the support the foundation brought forth, and the rallying community, kept the hope alive and allowed Gabriele’s legacy to live on. Last year, Brave Like Gabe raised $1.5 million, and despite the hardship, the Brave Like Gabe Foundation continued to grow. They partnered with The Silo Marathon in Waco, Texas, and partnered with Brooks Running, creating a Running on Hope apparel line, launching Summer 2020! We can’t wait for that! "Fingers crossed it comes in flamingo sizes," said Carl. (Phat chance buddy.)

Did you and Gabe have a favorite “cheat day” food or routine?

Gabriel and Justin had a favorite routine of going to Red Cow, a neighborhood tavern in Minneapolis, where they’d enjoy burgers and craft beer after a late night run. Carl approves!

How did a sunglasses co-brand with goodr come about?

Gabriele reached out to goodr a while back inquiring about the goodr Co-Brand Program. She had sketched out a stunning pair of white and blue goodr running glasses, and was excited about the collaboration. The sunnies were a success. When Gabriele passed away, goodr gifted an additional 300 pairs of Brave Like Gabe running sunglasses to the foundation.

The Running on Hope exclusive sunglasses will be sold on the Brave Like Gabe website, at their 5k event, and also at various races that the foundation is partnering with.

What does the future hold for the Brave Like Gabe Foundation?

Big things! More events, more spreading of hope.

How can we empower people to help?

Register for the Virtual 5k this June!!! Celebrate Gabe’s birthday month and run a 5k during the month of June, with the emphasis being on 6/25, her birthday. There will be a Strava Challenge, leaderboard, and door prizes drawn at random. This will also guarantee you entry for the in-person race September 2020. Another option is registering for the IRL (“in real life” if you didn’t know, now you know) event on September 6th in St. Paul, Minnesota. There is also an option to run this virtually!

If that sounded like a pelican garbling down more fish than she could chew, all of the details can be found here.

You can also support this amazing organization by shopping the Running on Hope swag collection and help continue to spread the power of hope by wearing and sharing the story of Gabriele Grunewald.



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