But ask what the experience has meant to her and her family, and she answers without hesitation: "A blessing. To me, this is a total gift from God. It has brought our family so much closer."
Rush has been an active and involved mom at Laurel Elementary, where her twin boys Jacob and Joshua, 9, and son Colton, 11, attended school, and where she has developed many friendships over the years. Those relationships followed the family when they moved from Oakley to Discovery Bay in August, and those friends have now stepped up to offer their love and support.
Julie Sorbello, a teacher at Laurel, is helping to organize a pizza and game night on June 5. Proceeds from the event will help the Rush family offset medical bills. "We just wanted to do something to show our support for the family," said Sorbello. "I can't imagine how hard this all must be, but Chere is doing remarkably well. She's amazing."
Overwhelmed by the gesture, Rush said the greatest challenge has not been the illness, but allowing herself to accept the much-needed help. "It's been really hard for me to let people do things for me," she said. "We've just been so touched by all that our friends and church have done, and now this. It's been very humbling."
Rush has undergone her first round of chemotherapy and said she is feeling well. Last week, she shaved her head, preferring a clean sweep to watching it come out in clumps. "It's no big deal," she said. "It's just hair; it'll grow back."
For now, the family remains optimistic, upbeat, grateful and calm. Rush's parents have moved in with the family to help out with the day-to-day work of running a home. Rush said she is anxious to put her cancer into remission and get on with her life. "I'm not scared at all. I'm really not," she said. "I believe that stuff happens for a reason, and this is just one more thing to deal with. I'm not ready to leave my kids, so I'm going to beat this. I feel very blessed."
The pizza and games night will be held Tuesday, June 5 in the Laurel School cafeteria from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets for the event should be purchased in advance. Raffle tickets will also be available for $1. For more information, call 625-7000.