Leroy Stanislas

Hilary “Leroy” Stanislas, 59, of Palmetto, Florida, just can’t wait to get back to work and the active life he’s always led. After being diagnosed with lung cancer just a few months ago, he now surrounds himself with love, including his wife, Stacey, and his two young sons, Jontae and Jarel.

Leroy always looked forward to going to work as a custodian.

He enjoys talking to the teachers and everybody else who works at William Monroe Rowlett Academy, the school he’s worked at for 11 years now, but he especially loves being around the kids.

Now that he is unable to work, he’s “taking things one day at time,” he said.

For his “Bring Hope Home or the Holidays” event, he will be visited by volunteers on December 12 who will arrive with holiday snacks and the spirit of the season.

While he used to go fishing and play basketball in his spare time, nowadays he’s trying to be content watching his kids play.

He’s following doctors’ orders, until they can conquer the cancer within. Then he’s planning to go right back to doing the things that make him feel alive.

As he had no outward symptoms, Leroy was unaware he had the disease, until he and his wife were in a bad car accident in October of this year. The emergency room ran their usual battery of tests and he and Stacey received some upsetting results, which led to further tests. Leroy was diagnosed later that same month with a 13-centimeter stage III sarcamatoid-carcinoma tumor in his left lung.

He recently had his first round of immunotherapy, which left him feeling dizzy and weak, but he’s feeling better day-by-day. There’s another round planned next month, after which the clinic will scan his lung to see if the therapy is working. If it’s dissolving the tumor, then surgery might not be needed. He and Stacey are both praying for that result.

When asked what keeps him so hopeful in the face of such an aggressive cancer, he responded instantly,

“I have my faith in God. And my family — my wife and sons — keep me positive.”

He credits the staff and other cancer patients at the Moffit Cancer Center for helping him keep his sunny optimism intact, too. He is grateful to Holly Wilson, his social worker at the Center, who recently put him in touch with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF).

Leroy’s advice to others is not to wait for a car accident, before seeing a doctor. “If I had gone for my yearly checkup, this cancer might have been caught at an earlier stage,” he said. “God only gives us one body, and it’s our job to make sure we’re taking good care of it.”

Leroy’s health is his full-time job now. He has faith he will get better and still hopes to return to his school and stepping back on the basketball court.