I don't want to die.
These are the heartbreaking words penned by Jael Strauss on her Facebook page in a message to fans that relayed the most painful news imaginable:
She has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
“I was gonna write some long thing but some of you guys deserve to know,” the 34-year old wrote last week, four days into Breast Cancer Awareness month.
She then added very simply:
“On October 2nd I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable.”
Stage IV is the final and most serious stage for cancer.
It is not always a death sentence, but as Strauss writes here, there is rarely any treatment options for someone that has contracted such an illness.
Strauss later confirmed that the name of her illness was rapidly progressive metastatic inflammatory breast cancer.
She went on to explain that undergoing chemotherapy and treatment may help extend her doctors’ original prognosis.
"With treatment it may prolong my life longer than the “few months” doctors said I could make it," she added.
"I don’t want to die. I need another one of those miracles that I got back in 2013."
Strauss competed on the eighth season of America’s Next Top Model in 2007, finishing six among all contestants.
Just this past August, she celebrated five years of sobriety, writing at the time on Instagram;
“Today I have 5 years sober. Good God!
"I know a few things to be true: Miracles are real, Recovery is possible for everyone no matter how far gone you think you are, We are never too broken to be put back together."
She talked years ago with Dr. Phil about how an intervention by her loved ones allowed her to overcome her addiction.
(Hence the reference above to the year 2013.)
“Service work feels better than the greatest high, Sobriety makes you weirder not normal,” she continued last month.
“And I’d be dead if it weren’t for all the love and forgiveness I’ve been showered with by my friends and family. Thank you to anyone that’s ever let me sponsor them.”
To help offset some of the medical costs, Strauss’ friends have set up a GoFundMe page on her behalf, confirming that the former model has already started chemotherapy.
“What we do know is that Jael is putting all of her energy and drive into fighting this insidious disease and can use as much support and love as possible,” reads the fundraising page, noting that:
“Jael is in tremendous pain right now and is unable to work. In a month, she will be let go from her job and lose her health insurance.”
Jael, being the selfless person that she is, has helped countless people throughout her life as an advocate for recovery and social justice.
She has offered everything she has to people in need; no matter what their situation, she is always ready to help with an empathetic heart and nonjudgmental spirit.
She has created “gofundmes” for literally dozens of her friends, and it is now time for us to pay her back.
We have the chance, and honestly the obligation, to step up and return the favor.
You can donate to her cause HERE.
The campaign has since raised over $7,800 in three days.
“Currently fighting stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer,” reads Jael's Instagram bio. “Plz send miracles."
We are doing just that.