DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – A local woman fought her battle of breast cancer while relying on her family and faith. Those people got her through her darkest days.
"I told myself in the beginning that I would allow myself to cry once a day and that was it," said Rhonda Bray.
It was just days after she started her dream job as a Children’s Ministry Director. Soon her dream shifted to beating cancer.
"They had a biopsy and then I got the call that it was cancer," said Rhonda.
Rhonda said a self-discovered lump in her breast revealed a nine-centimeter tumor placing Rhonda in Stage 3.
"When it came back cancer my first initial reaction was well, we're just going to fight it," shared Rhonda.
Her family was close by as she went through months of grueling chemo, a double mastectomy and radiation treatments.
"I think that was the toughest part watching her be something she's never been," said Rhonda’s husband, Jim Bray. "I would make dinner things like that, do stuff around the house so she wouldn't have to get out of bed."
At just 7 years old, Jaxson didn’t fully understand the magnitude of his mom’s illness until her hair started falling out.
"In my mind I thought poof it was gone, but it was such a slow process that mentally it was tough," said Jaxson. "I cried a lot because it just… I called her a peach head because it felt like a peach."
It was her family’s support, faith and positive mindset and a rocking wig, that got Rhonda through the toughest 10 months of her life.
"There was always the date well I'll be finished with this at this date and finally I hit that date and life could start again."
Rhonda has been in remission since July and the Brays have not taken a day for granted.
"I think anyone who goes through something this scary, that you look at life completely different," said Rhonda.
"We're not so reserved anymore; we don't worry about things as much as we used to," said Jim.
Or as Jaxson puts it their life is “a lot better than it was.”
On Oct. 4 the Bray’s hosted their second annual “Tackle Cancer” a JFL flag football game. Jim and Rhonda created the event last year in support of his wife. They raised nearly $2,500 that will go towards helping other families fighting breast cancer.