Grace Eline, 10, a cancer survivor dedicated to helping other children diagnosed with the disease, was invited by President Donald Trump to attend the State of the Union address.
Grace, from Long Hill, New Jersey, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in May of 2018. After undergoing chemotherapy, doctors declared her cancer-free in October. She celebrated her 10th birthday on December 16, 2018, by raising money for the families of other children battling cancer.
During the State of the Union address, President Trump praised Grace, telling her, “You are an inspiration to us all.”
Here’s what you need to know.
Grace Eline Was Known For Her Optimistic Spirit & ‘Infectious Smile’ During Her Cancer Treatment
Grace Eline was 9 when her parents learned she had a rare germ cell brain tumor. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, these types of tumors are found in less than 5 percent of cases. Patients typically experience headaches and vision problems.
Grace managed to hold on to her joy and optimism during her cancer treatment. As explained by the White House, Grace was known around the hospital where she was treated for her bright attitude. She “stayed positive and strong, making the rounds in the hospital, cheering up other patients, and always having a smile for the many caring medical professionals who treated her.”
Grace’s doctors declared her cancer-free in October of 2018.
Grace Raised Money for the Valerie Fund on Her 10th Birthday, Keeping Up a Tradition Grace Started When She Was Only 4 Years Old
Grace Eline has been working to help other children with cancer since she was only 4 years old. As President Trump explained in his speech, Grace asked her friends to donate to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital every year on her birthday.
For her 10th birthday, after beating cancer, Grace hosted a Dance-a-Thon fundraiser to benefit the Valerie Fund. The Fund was started in honor of Valerie Goldstein, a little girl from New Jersey who passed away from cancer at the age of nine in 1976. Her parents had to drive Valerie 90 minutes away to undergo cancer treatments. They explained on the website that Valerie often felt nauseated after treatment but had to deal with a long trip home each time. “The travel disrupted family life and forced them to rearrange work schedules. The whole endeavor took an emotional and physical toll on the entire family, sapping their energy at a time when they needed it most.” The Goldsteins made it their goal to help open outpatient treatments centers.
The charity’s mission is laid out on its website as such: “The Valerie Fund’s mission is to provide individualized care to children at medical centers close to home, because we believe the most effective way to heal the children in our care is to treat them emotionally, socially and developmentally, as well as medically.”
President Trump said in his address that he was asking Congress for $500 million over the next decade devoted to researching potential cures to childhood cancers.
Grace Eline Was the Honorary Captain at a New York Jets Game in August 2018
Grace Eline was offered a respite from her cancer treatment in August of 2018. The New York Jets invited her to be their honorary captain on August 10, 2018, against the Atlanta Falcons.
Grace watched the warmups from the sidelines and got to help with the coin toss. She told the Daily Record that the players looked much bigger than she anticipated. “On TV, they look like little ants. But now, they look like big humans, a lot bigger than me. On TV, you don’t get to see how they practice, and all the cameras.”
She received a $200 gift certificate to the team store and a customized jersey with her name printed on the back. Grace was also excited to meet her favorite player, quarterback Josh McCown.