Grace Oliver’s family and friends continue to celebrate her life and honor her memory by raising awareness and money for brain cancer research.
A Loyola graduate and former runner for the Ramblers, Oliver (Class of 2009) died in July 2015 from a glioblastoma brain tumor. A native of Chicago’s Northwest Side, she was diagnosed with the terminal disease in 2012 while attending Saint Louis University.
For the sixth year in a row, Oliver’s loved ones participated in the BT5K Chicago Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run & Walk that benefits the American Brain Tumor Association. As of Tuesday, Oliver’s team has raised $27,024. Donations still are being accepted.
In November 2015, her mother, Mary Oliver, and husband, Mike Daday, formed Grace Giving, a non-profit organization. Molly Oliver, Grace’s oldest sister and a 2003 graduate of Loyola, is among those responsible for running the foundation. Molly also ran for the Ramblers.
“[Grace] was all about living,” said Molly, who works in the admissions department at DePaul Prep. “Even when she was given a death sentence, it didn’t slow her down.”
Loyola head coach for girls cross country and girls track and field, ChrisJon Simon (Class of 1986) coached all three of the Oliver sisters, including Claire, who graduated in 2007. He remains close to the family.
“Grace’s death hit the Loyola community hard,” Simon said. “But it’s amazing how such sadness gave so much life and energy to her cause.”
Grace’s Loyola classmates Meaghan Carroll, Caroline Doyle, Madeline Flanagan, Kevin Ford and Nick Miceli have been instrumental in the fundraising efforts, according to Molly.
“One of Grace’s biggest fears as she was dying is that none of her friends would stay connected,” Molly said. “Not only is that not true, everybody continues to be close and those people are bringing in more people to support her. It’s really a beautiful thing.”