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Gracie isn't fighting alone: How heartbreak turned into hope for 8-year-old with brain tumor

5 years 2 months 3 weeks ago Sunday, March 04 2018 Mar 4, 2018 March 04, 2018 9:40 AM March 04, 2018 in News
By: Brandon Saho

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Baton Rouge, LA -  "Every time I see her tears come to my eyes. So when I land my second pass and I see her I'm like 'this is for you."

8-year-old Gracie Zaunbrecher is just like Lexie: a young gymnast with big dreams and an infectious smile, one day hoping to make it to the sports biggest stage just like her favorite Tiger.

"She means so much to this team," said LSU gymnast Lexie Priessman. "She came into our life one day and since that day our lives have changed completely."

Gracie's life has also changed competely, where the LSU gymnastics team has given her a new home and hope after one routine turned into heartbreak for her family.

"Just having to see her go through the things she should never have to do," says Maile Zaunbrecher. "It's always tough for a mother to see that."

One year ago while competing on the beam, she was having trouble with her balance. That's when her mother Maile took her to a nearby hospital where they received the devastating news that 7-year-old Gracie had an inoperable brain tumor with no cure.

"She's so brave and strong. Everything she does, she does it with a smile on her face, anything we ask her to do she does no questions asked and of course to have Lexie to talk to through it all is amazing."

"Every time I see her, we tell her you're our fighting tiger and you have the eye of the tiger. I Snapchat her all of the time and she'll Snapchat me too if she's at the doctor or during radiation but I just try my best to keep her calm and to know that she's our little sister here and if she needs anything she can come to us."

"It's very important because this is her time away from the doctors and the visits and all of that and she can just be a kid and play and do everything with the girls."

And although she can't compete right now, the chance to be a part of this team is putting a smile on Gracie: their fighting Tiger."

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