Jael Strauss is hoping for a miracle.
Last week, the former contestant from America’s Next Top Model announced to her social media followers that she was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
“I was gonna write some long thing but some of you guys deserve to know,” Strauss, 34, wrote on Facebook, just four days into Breast Cancer Awareness month. “On October 2nd I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable.”
Strauss, who later confirmed that the name of her illness was rapidly progressive metastatic inflammatory breast cancer, explained 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 wrote. “I don’t want to die. I need another one of those miracles that I got back in 2013”
To help alleviate 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, but the outcome is uncertain.
“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,” they wrote, before 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.”
The campaign has since raised over $7,200 in just three days.
Strauss has also recently updated her Instagram bio to reflect her medical situation, asking her followers to send positive wishes. “Currently fighting stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer,” it reads. “Plz send miracles.💋”
The Detroit native recently celebrated being five years sober.
“Today I have 5 years sober. Good God!” she wrote in August. “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”
Prior to getting well, a then-28-year-old Strauss appeared on The Dr. Phil Show, where her battle with “substance abuse and addiciton” led to a hometown intervention. Weeks after the episode aired, Strauss began her journey to sobriety.
“Service work feels better than the greatest high, Sobriety makes you weirder not normal😊” she continued in the post. “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.”
She finished her post by thanking her partner Cody Bear, as well as her family and friends, before leaving off with one inspirational message: “Keep up the good fight😘”
Strauss competed on the eighth season of America’s Next Top Model in 2007.
She finished sixth in the competition, but is not the only person from the show to be diagnosed with breast cancer — joining former judge Janice Dickinson, who underwent two lumpectomies and two months of radiation as part of her treatment in 2016.
The American Cancer Society suggests that women should start thinking about getting annual mammograms when they turn 40 and that by the time they’re 45, they should be getting them done yearly.