Stevenson Schott, of Michigan, is the widow of Michael B. Schott, a former beverage industry executive who passed away in 2008 from glioblastoma - a malignant form of brain cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2007.
Rabinowitz was moved by Evonne Stevenson Schott's story of courage in taking care of her ailing husband. The book “One More Dance,” published in 2011, was a result of this inspiration.
“It’s a good slap in the face,” Rabinowitz says of the story. “We think we have it bad.”
Rabinowitz and Stevenson Schott collaborated on the book, providing a unified voice through interviews and personal accounts on the family's experience with terminal illness. They combined efforts to re-create first person accounts of the story in Stevenson Schott's voice.
Stevenson Schott was her husband's nurse and No. 1 advocate, even though the couple had only recently been married. She made sure he was always getting the best care possible and became well versed on his disease, she says.
“They knew that I was serious,” she says of every doctor's appointment, hospital visit or test she attended with her husband. “This was Mike’s life. It was my life. We were just starting out together. This was not part of our plan. He was not supposed to get a headache.”But Stevenson Schott says the book can provide inspiration for anyone going through a struggle. She says while revisiting the events was difficult, she thought it was important to do the book so people knew that one person can in fact make a difference.
“It’s draining,” she says. “It’s very difficult to go back and relive. We have heavy hearts.”Her determination went further than caring for the love of her life when he was sick. After his passing, Stevenson Schott continued on a crusade to get the drug Avastin approved by the FDA so that more people could benefit from its effects.
She says her family was fortunate enough to be able to purchase the drug, which was not approved at the time and thus not covered by insurance. She says the drug drastically improved his quality of life while he was sick.
Stevenson Schott's testimony before the FDA helped gain early approval for Avastin to treat recurring glioblastoma. She is currently a member of the Henry Ford Health System Neuroscience Council of Advisors.
“If you’re strong enough, if it’s something you believe in, you can make a difference,” Stevenson Schott says. “If you tell me no, I’ll do it even harder. If it’s something I believe in, there’s no stopping.”
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