Team Grace was formed to honor our daughter, sister, and friend - Grace Bunke. Grace battled osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, for nearly four years. While she underwent treatment including a partial leg amputation and two lung operations, she transitioned from running track to swimming. Quickly excelling at swimming, Grace never let the cancer stop her. Not even when her cancer came back in her lungs requiring a third lung surgery. Not even when she enrolled in a clinical immunotherapy trial. Not even when her cancer returned again in her spines and lungs where she was told that there was no cure.
Even though Grace didn’t start swimming until the age of 12 following her cancer diagnosis and only swam in 14 swim meets in her entire life, in every single race in every single one of those meets, Grace swam faster than she had ever swam before. She swam faster as she became sicker. She swam faster as the disease spread throughout her body. She swam faster even when she required oxygen to navigate her day. She swam faster even while taking chemotherapy medications. She swam faster even during her radiation treatments. She swam faster even though she was a hospice patient. She swam faster even when she stopped going to swim practice. She swam faster while planning her own funeral and spelling out for us her final wishes. She swam faster as she was dying.
Sadly, on March 25, 2018, Grace took her last breath on this earth. She was 14 years old. As a way to honor Grace and raise money to fund cancer research, her mother is swimming in 14 of the SAA open water events in 2020. Grace believed that hope has no finish line. We invite you to believe as Grace did by joining ‘Team Amazing Grace’ so we can make waves to fight cancer together one open water event at a time.