Sarah Poulin lost her five-year-old son Jacob to brain cancer last year. On Monday, the country watched her compete on American Ninja Warrior in his honor. Poulin trained for months after his death in October for the chance to go on the show, which Jacob had loved since age four. "After Jacob passed away, I decided that he just loved American Ninja Warrior so much, but would never be able to get to do it, that I would do it for him," said Poulin, 32. "I decided that nothing was going to stop me."
That weekend in Tempe, Gabe stayed with her team and 24 hours later ran a personal best of 4:22.87 in the 1,500 meters because it would have been a shame to let all that training go to waste. Later, back in Minnesota, she underwent a grueling six-hour surgery to remove the tumor and one of her six salivary glands, followed by two months of daily radiation treatments. It all marked the beginning of Gabe’s life with cancer, not the end. She couldn’t have known then just how challenging, how painful, how rewarding, how terrifying…how important that life would be.