Cancer Survivor Stories

Grace Wethor: “You’re So Lucky”

“My name is Grace Wethor and I am a 17-year-old brain tumor survivor. Growing up I was a super active child. I got in trouble in school a lot, but mainly for things like choreographing dance numbers in the middle of math class or directing a film in the middle of English. No matter what it was, I always wanted to be creating something new. I was a figure skater and with the help of my team would soon become a world champion in the synchronized figure skating division. I was also a performer in the circus and traveled back and forth to Canada to train. After that, I explored acting, writing, poetry, film, and many more creative activities.”

“I believe our life is a circle. Our circle is made up of events and decisions that go both ways. An event can force you to make a decision and a decision can cause a string of events. We can’t always control the events that occur but the decisions to do the things we love is all up to us.”

“At age 13 I became tired, sick, and started losing passion for the things that I loved. I was taken to countless doctors that would say things such as she’s depressed, she’s a teenager, and worst of all, she’s making it up for attention.”

“One day my mom decided to take me to the ER to have me checked for Mono. It had been going around my school and I had some of the symptoms. With a test or two, they figured out I didn’t have mono but I had some weird blood markers. I was sent to the Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis Hematology department. It was there they told me I might have Leukemia.”

“Over the next couple of days, I went through extensive testing that thankfully showed I did not have Leukemia. Although this was good news, it sent us back to square one. They spent the next sixth months trying to figure out why I had all of these markers for leukemia but I didn’t actually have leukemia.”

“One day the doctors proposed an MRI of my spine and head. It was January 9th, 2015. I was in math class when I received the slip of paper that said my mom had arrived to pick me up. I got in the car and we drove to the hospital. We went through the procedure of the MRI and after I put on my P.E. clothes. I was headed off to gym class and we were doing the dance unit which of course this was my favorite. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to gym class that day.”

“About 10 minutes into our drive back to school, we received a phone call. It was very quick and my mother didn’t speak at all. She turned around the car and we headed back to the hospital.”

“That day I was diagnosed with a Brain Stem Glioma, a tumor in the brain stem. Due to the location, it was considered inoperable and chemotherapy/radiation had a slim chance of working. These medial roadblocks meant I was given an 8% chance of survival for the upcoming 6 months.”

“That was the day my life and perspective of living changed. I started living every day to the fullest and pursuing every dream or goal I could think of no matter the outcome. I moved to Los Angeles and started acting and modeling full time. Quickly I found myself modeling in New York Fashion Week and acting on Nickelodeon. 4 years later, I am still fighting my tumor every day but it is completely stable. I truly believe it was because of this one event that I changed my way of living. Having something place a time limit on you makes you work harder. Dreams I never thought would come true started manifesting themselves. I now focus on helping other cancer survivors pursue their dreams through my book “You’re So Lucky” and my non-profit organization “We Can Beats This.””

Grace Wethor- Brain Cancer Survivor & Activist


TedTalk: The Day That My Life Changed Forever

Instagram: @gracewethor