Humans of New York: the story of Grace

I follow Humans of New York on Instagram. They've just finished a series on paediatric cancer - the stories of parents, doctors, nurses and children who fight this disease with the fiercest bravery, compassion, and determination.

I was so incredibly moved by the series, that I wanted to share it here. I wanted to be able to read this post years from now when pediatric cancer is cured, and children don't have to fight this monster any more, and I want to be reminded how many people fought for a cure and never gave up.

The stories are so hard to read. I've cried more than once. But the people - and their stories - have changed my heart. Since the 5th of May, over 87 000 people have donated more than $3.2 million to aid the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer (the initial target was $1 million).

At the end of the series, after reading every single story, I'm left in awe at the people who have dedicated their entire lives - DECADES - to finding a cure despite the immense heartbreak and failure that they face day after day.


This is Gracie. And this is an extract from her story.

(5/6) “These are my beads of courage. You get a yellow bead for an overnight stay. A white bead is for chemo. A black bead is when you get pricked. And I have two special heart-shaped beads because my heart stopped twice. The first time my heart stopped was late at night. It started beating really fast, and my nurse got very scared, and suddenly ten doctors ran in. They pulled out a big bag of ice and put it on my chest. I was a little annoyed because Justin Bieber was performing at the VMA’s and I had to turn down the volume. The doctors said, ‘Grace have you ever been on a roller coaster? This medicine is going to make you feel like you’re going down a giant hill!’ And they started putting those shock paddles on me. And I heard them tell my mom they were going to stop my heart, and she took out her Valium and started chewing it so it would work faster. Then somebody screamed, ‘Everyone clear!’ And my Mom said: ‘Are you ready Grace? It’s just a roller coaster! Are you ready?’ And then they pushed the shot into my IV and it felt like the world stopped spinning. The machine was going ‘beep, beep, beep,’ but then it stopped. And then nothing. And then nothing. And it felt like a giant boulder was dropped on my chest. And then suddenly my heart started beating again. And I yelled: ‘That did not feel like a roller coaster!’”

Gracie's story had a happy ending. You can read her whole story here.
Click here to read more stories from the series.

To donate (I think today is the last day), click here.

Follow Humans of New York on Instagram.

All photos and text (Gracie's story) are taken from the Humans of New York website.