This is the Gravois family. Ryan and Natalie have been long time friends of Paula and I. We have had the pleasure of seeing them married and since then have two adorable children. Their story is not one of an average young couple, but it is one that has me holding on to my two own children a little tighter.
Back in February of this year their then 1.5 year old Olivia Kate, she's now two, was having balance issues. They took her to the Dr and soon after an MRI revealed a large tumor in the center of her brain. She was admitted immediately and underwent surgery to remove the tumor the next day. Olivia's prognosis came back stating she had a malignant AT/RT tumor with a genetic mutation. Their son, William, was only a month old and they just bought their first home in another state for Ryan's job. Family rallied around them and made the move for Natalie and Ryan and chipped in with the care of William so they could be by Olivia's side at every moment. Olivia has since been through many rounds of chemo, proton therapy and stem cell transplants. This also means they have been mostly living in hospitals this year. They have been living between hospitals in Mobile, Houston, New Orleans, and now here in Birmingham where Olivia will be having her last two rounds of chemo and everything else that goes along with it. Ryan and Natalie inspire us every day with their courage to fight with the most positive of attitudes. Were they heartbroken? Yes, but through a great gathering of prayer we have all seen miracles happen and Natalie and Ryan hang on to the promises of God...
"This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Josh 1:9
You can follow more of their story and get updates on Olivia HERE. We have found that Olivia Kate has quite the fight behind that sweet smile. I hope you find yourself as inspired by this family as we are.