8-year-old with inoperable brain tumor throws first pitch at Eun - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

8-year-old with inoperable brain tumor throws first pitch at Eunice softball game

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St. Edmund's softball team is rallying around a little girl battling a life-threatening illness.

As Gracie Zaunbrecher walked up to the mound with her cousin, center fielder for the Lady Jays, dozens of fans in the stands began applauding.

It's not hard to see that Gracie is a one of a kind 8-year-old.

"She has more faith than all of us," said her father, Byron Zaunbrecher.

"She always has a smile," continued her mother, Mile Zaunbrecher. "She was diagnosed March 7 of last year with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). It's an inoperable and incurable brain tumor."

But nothing, not even a tumor, is stopping Gracie from living her life with a constant smile.

"She has a perfectly normal life going forward right now and it's going to stay going forward too," said her dad.

It has been a rough road, but with the support of her community, and the St. Edmund softball team, it makes the journey a little easier.

"She doesn't even come to this school but if you look at all these kids, we love her. She's family to us," said the Lady Jays head coach, Ashlyn Grossie."And if you look at all our helmets, all our batters' helmets, we have a cross with her initials on it to remind us. That's what we're going to play for because she might not get the opportunity, but in our eyes, she's strong enough and she'll make that opportunity. We'll make sure it happens."

This season, the Lady Jays taking inspiration from Gracie's fight.

"And so when I needed someone to throw the first pitch out, I thought immediately this kid right here because our team motto of this season is 'trust the process.' And if you look at her, she's the strongest kid you'll ever meet and that's what she's doing, she's trusting God's process," said Grossie.

Now, her family is trusting that process, praying for a miracle and a clinical trial opening.

"She just did radiation this last round. There's nothing that'll help. We have to do a scan and hope that it shrunk enough to do a clinical trial," said her father, squeezing Gracie a little tighter.

Gracie will be getting extra prayers from her friends on the St. Edmund's softball team.

"You know, people say you fight like a girl. It's okay to fight like a girl sometimes because you know we're out here and we're fighting for her. And it's not necessarily a bad thing to fight like a girl when you're fighting like Gracie," said the head coach.

And by the way, St. Edmund won Monday night's game, beating Abbeville 16 to 1.

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