It’s been seven years since Valarie Schlosser lost her brother, Louis, to colon cancer. He was 67 years old when he died.
Now, at the age of 52, Schlosser is facing the same disease.
“It’s stage four,” she said from her living room in Tampa. “I’m not promised tomorrow. None of us are.”
She has been fighting the disease since February 2015. The diagnosis came as a shock.
“I just completed 55 rounds,” she said, describing her treatments, which last 48 hours each time. She endures them every other week.
The extensive attack on the cancer means her bills are stacking up. The accumulation surpasses the income. Painful shots are a reminder of how hard cancer is to deal with.
Her nurses marvel at Schlosser’s strength.
“Val is the epitome of a warrior,” said Florida Cancer Specialists head nurse, Mandy Kimmel. “She takes the hits and keeps on and she is so warm and so loving.”
Schlosser receives less than $800 per month from supplemental insurance. That doesn’t even cover the cost of her modest, one-bedroom apartment just around the corner from the doctor’s office she visits almost daily. Every month she accrues a late charge on her rent.
“Those late charges need to be paid or I could be possibly be facing eviction. How am I going to get it? I don’t know but God’s grace is what I’ve been asking for.”
Still, she’s fighting on. Her Go Fund Me page has steady donations, but they’re not enough. She hopes to keep her home and not have to rely on moving in with friends or family.
“I'm not ready to lie down,” she said. “I have faith and ... all I can do is walk on my faith. I know what I’ve asked my heavenly father to do for me and I know what He’s capable of doing, but my main part is I have to believe it.”