She was born on a summer day in June in 2003 in New Jersey and from all outward appearances she came into this world as a healty, normal girl. However, that all changed at the young age of 10 when she was diagnosed as having Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells and it occurs most often in infants and young children.

Gracie "Cookie" West
Gracie “Cookie” West

From there, the story of Gracie “Cookie” West began. What followed was a difficult and tumultuous few years that Gracie would never forget and ones that no child should ever have to endure. Chemo, endless doctor and hospital visits, and enduring ups and downs filled Gracie’s days. Most importantly however, Gracie never gave up during this time. In fact, the tougher things got the more resistance Gracie offered up. Cancer had indeed met its match.


One of the best known moments in Gracie’s journey was the granting of her amazing wish which was to meet Pope Francis. With great support and a lot of help, that actually happened.

Gracie and Pope Francis
Gracie and Pope Francis

To understand the daily trials and tribulations that Gracie endured during her treatment, check out this video which chronicled Gracie’s story:

Fast forward to today and now in 8th Grade, we circle back and thankfully….so thankfully….Gracie is cancer free. She is alive and living every moment of her precious little life. Gracie 3In fact, spend 5 minutes with Gracie and you will find that she is the typical young lady who divides her time between family obligations, school, swimming, and so much more. To the naked eye, one would never know the miraculous journey that this little lady had endured. However, by the same token, spend a moment with her and there are obvious clues that Gracie is not your normal 13 year old child.

The infectious smile of Gracie
The infectious smile of Gracie

Indeed, there are distinguishing factors that separate Gracie from anyone I certainly have ever met and this might explain how Gracie got here today. For example, she possesses the courage of a lion, the poise of a diplomat, the charisma of an actress, and, the class of a queen. Gracie is indeed unique….very unique. Noticeably absent are feelings of anger, resentment, and frustration. Gracie, in my mind, is destined for greater works in this life.

Gracie’s story is well chronicled; she has been featured on CBS News and on, just to name a few. Today we took a few minutes to catch up with Gracie to talk to her about her life which again, is cancer free. In the next few weeks we will air our sit down with Gracie but ahead of that we had to get the word out about this young lady who could set soaking driftwood on fire. She is that engaging.

There is so much to this story and it starts with Gracie’s trademark; her “treehouse.” The treehouse was also the site of our sit down today.

Gracie's treehouse
Gracie’s treehouse

Gracie’s treehouse is indeed that; it’s a real treehouse. It fits Gracie’s personality perfectly. Custom built by a mass of supporters, the treehouse is warm and it embodies a home for hope….enter inside and you can feel it.

The treehouse offers every amenity that a kid could want. It is here that Gracie retreats to do homework and to partake in alone time. It also serves as a shrine to commemorate the special journey that this young lady undertook just a few years ago. Blessings and signs of faith are abundant and if one ever had any doubt about divine intervention, a visit to the treehouse with Gracie should convince you that there was help from above that came for this little girl in her time of need. I have no doubt about that.

Inside the treehouse
Inside the treehouse


The stairs leading to the treehouse
The stairs leading to the treehouse

Gracie 2So we invite you to stay tuned and in the near future look for our special sit down with Gracie West. We will touch on Gracie’s plight, her life, and how certain things like music helped her through the rough times. You won’t want to miss this one. There truly is so much to talk about and take in with this child. She is a miracle come to life.

Editor’s Note: To find out more about Gracie and her foundation please visit Cookie’s Crumblers website here.

Stairs 2
Gracie and I spending some time at the treehouse




Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor