Michelle Rush, 39, was born and raised in Chicago and grew up with in a large, close-knit family with three siblings. Michelle has always been an outgoing, active woman with a sparkling personality who loves to travel, eat and shop. In early 2017, Michelle’s world shook when she received news that would forever change her life.
On February 1, 2017, at only 38 years old, Michelle discovered a small lump during a routine self-breast exam and immediately sought attention at an urgent care center. X-rays were taken and the results showed a mass.
Michelle made an appointment with Jilma Patrick, M.D., fellowship-trained breast surgeon at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH). Dr. Patrick confirmed her worst fear that she indeed was diagnosed with breast cancer. A team of oncology experts at LCMH, including Simona Chivu, M.D., hematologist/oncologist, and Julia Choo, M.D., radiation oncologist, immediately collaborated and developed a treatment plan for Michelle. From March through July 2017, Michelle underwent chemotherapy followed by surgery in August of 2017 and radiation in November of 2017. Currently, Michelle is undergoing adjuvant therapy at LCMH, which will be completed in September of this year.
“My number one advice for women is to put their health first and to not be afraid of getting a mammogram,” said Michelle. “A mammogram can save your life, and early detection is crucial.”
Along Michelle’s journey, she has utilized the Integrative Therapy services at LCMH that are provided free of charge to patients undergoing treatment, their families and those who support them. The mission of the Integrative Therapy department at LCMH is to provide patients with support and programming that will allow them to experience a high quality of life throughout their cancer journey. The Integrative Therapy services offered at LCMH include: acupuncture, art therapy, breast cancer support group, yoga, guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation, and more.
“What I love most about LCMH is that I do not feel like just a number,” said Michelle. “From the physicians to the nurses to everyone in between – I truly feel like I am at home and a part of a tight-knit community.”
Today, Michelle is looking forward to living with a fresh new outlook on life. She has begun to plan trips for once her treatment is completed. The Bahamas and San Diego are on her list, which is where she plans to travel to with her family and friends. During the most difficult time in her life, Michelle’s faith in God played a huge role in her beating cancer.
“For me, breast cancer was not a death sentence but more so a wake-up call to not take life for granted and to live every day to the fullest,” said Michelle.
Michelle would like to thank her doctors, nurses and support staff at LCMH for their patience, words of encouragement and commitment to aggressively treating her cancer.
Over the past 18 years, the BBCW has raised more than $5.5 million to support LCMH’s award-winning Comprehensive Breast Health Center and impacted the lives of thousands of breast cancer survivors. With generous community support in 2017, the BBCW was able to sustain its support of current breast health programming and continue deepening its impact with the establishment of a BBCW Crisis Fund to assist LCMH breast cancer patients with emergent financial needs within our community. Additionally, a portion of the 2017 event proceeds supported a “sister-walk” partnership with the international organization, People Helping People, bringing much-needed medical equipment, supplies and services to breast cancer patients in poverty-stricken El Salvador. In 2018, our top funding priorities include continued expansion of breast health programming, assisting those who may be in financial crisis during their treatment and empowering survivors through our third annual Cancer Survivor Event.
The 19th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk will take place on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, 2018. The walk starts at 8:00 a.m. at Ridge Park located on 96th and Longwood, Chicago, Illinois. Register early to receive a t-shirt with your $30 entry fee. The entry fee for children ages 18 and under is $15. Same-day registration is $10 more for adults and $5 more for children 18 and under. T-shirt availability is not guaranteed for day-of registrants. To register, go to www.BeverlyBreastCancerWalk.org today.