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Hope Has No Finish Line

September 4, 2019
By Communications

At the age of 11, Grace Bunke – a competitive runner and soccer player – was diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma. In an effort to rid her body of cancer, she underwent a leg amputation, multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments.

Following her leg amputation and initial cancer treatment, Grace began swimming. Although she only swam in 14 swim meets, in every single race in each of those swim meets, Grace swam faster than she had ever swum before. She swam faster as the disease spread throughout her body, which included her spine and both of her lungs. She swam faster even when she required oxygen to navigate her day. She swam faster even while taking chemotherapy medications and 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 her final wishes. She swam faster as she was dying.

In December 2017, Grace was honored to be presented with her Team USA Swim caps at her third U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she earned Personal Bests in all of her swimming events finishing in first place in the 200-meter freestyle and 50-meter Butterfly.

Although Grace lost her life to cancer on March 25, 2018, she never lost hope. In fact, her motto was, “Hope has no finish line.” Grace lived her life with a reckless faith, extravagant optimism, and a spirit that knew no bounds.

Her family spread her ashes along the shores of the Sea of Galilee in November 2018 while reading Grace’s favorite scripture: Psalm 91. Everyone could see God working in Grace’s life. Grace didn’t live for herself. She let God live through her. She never lost hope because of who she placed her hope in.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4)