(Photo: I am Second)
A powerful short film featuring Evansville Police Detective Nathan Schroer, who lost a nine-year battle with leukemia late last year, was released by I am Second on Monday.
In the film, Schroer, who taped with I am Second in September 2013, two months before dying, shares about living an abundant life while facing death.
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At 22 years old, Schroer applied to join the police force. Through a series of required tests, a doctor noticed Shroer's white blood count was low but deemed it okay and approved him for the job.
After his first year, Schroer realized his language had turned foul and he was "no longer the man he once was." He turned to God only to be awoken with a powerful message: "Nathan, you have cancer. It's ok." Shroer ignored the words, but it was not long after he experienced unexplained bruising and extreme fatigue. In January 2004, an oncologist diagnosed him with acute myelogenous leukemia.
After three full rounds of chemo, Schroer went into remission but was soon told he was in need of a stem-cell transplant. With no known siblings, Schroer was entered into the World Bank only to be told there was no match. It was then his mother spoke up and revealed Schroer had a younger brother who had been given up for adoption years before. On Father's Day 2004, Schroer's brother was found and the transplant occurred, giving Schroer regenerated bone marrow and causing his immune system to be restored.
Because of his extensive treatment, Schroer was told by doctors he and his wife would never have children, but they were soon put in the path of a young girl who was looking for a family for her newborn son. In just over 24 hours, the boy became the Shroers' son. One year later, they welcomed a biological girl followed by another in the following year.
Schroer stayed in remission for several years until a relapse on Feb. 14, 2013. He remained in the hospital through May of that year at which time he was told to go in hospice and get comfortable.
At home, sitting in the dark, it was during another honest conversation with God that Schroer told God he was ready to die.
"I'm ready for you to do this," Schroer told God. "Use my death in an incredible way. I don't like it but it's going to be ok."
During his three bouts with leukemia, Schroer tirelessly gave to his family and community. He served sexual abuse victims through Evansville's Holly's House, trained police officers in Moldova and Kenya, and ministered as both a department chaplain and youth leader.
When asked how he'd describe his life, Schroer said, "Abundant."
I am Second was created in 2008 and first launched in Dallas, Texas. To date, the website has received more than 17 million visits from 196 countries. The I am Second films, which address an array of personal struggles, including abuse, addictions, pride, eating disorders, broken families and the search for success and meaning in life, have received a total of more than 32 million views.