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Chris Smith: A mom, Piner alum, needs an RV for her shot at life

Jessica Buscho has built up the courage to ask for help to purchase a recreational vehicle. You’re thinking, good for her.

But you need to know her story.

Life was rolling right along for this long-athletic daughter of Santa Rosa, who once competed for Miss Sonoma County and at Piner High School captained the cross-country team. But in the spring of 2017, at the age of 33, the former Jessica Campbell was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer.

Even before the pandemic, for her to deal with the chemotherapy and radiation and surgery and immunotherapy and all the rest that comes with fighting for her life was no walk in the park. The arrival of the COVID-19 crisis has created what Jessica finds to be “kind of the perfect storm.”

She regards Sonoma County as her home even though work demands years ago required that she and her husband, Justin Buscho, and their three kids live in Brentwood, in Contra Costa County. Jessica’s parents, Kathy and Chuck Campbell, and both her sister and brother live in Sonoma County.

Jessica said from Brentwood on Wednesday that she’s been accepted into a clinical trial that she believes is most promising.

“This is sort of our Hail Mary,” she said.

Her problem with the trial is that it’s happening at UC Irvine, nearly 400 miles away.

Getting to Orange County for treatments about every three weeks and finding a safe place to stay for several days each time is a supreme challenge for someone like Jessica. As a seriously compromised cancer patient, the virus poses to her a highly critical risk.

The Buschos drove to Irvine a few weeks ago for Jessica’s first visit. Fearful of contracting COVID-19 at a hotel, motel or B&B, the family rented a house that had been vacant for some time.

They felt safe in the place, but occupying for just less than two weeks cost them more than $3,000. There’s no way they can put out money like that for every treatment.

Pondering their predicament, Justin and Jessica struck upon the idea to purchase a recreational vehicle to drive to O.C., and to stay in during the treatments. But the Buschos can’t afford to buy an RV.

“I am not a person to ask for money,” Jessica said. Though it was difficult for her, she went onto GoFundMe to appeal for help to at least make a down payment on an RV.

Jessica notes in GoFundMe that asking for financial help herself “speaks to my desire to take ownership of this undesirable meeting of COVID and cancer in my own way on my path to full health.”

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FOR 108 YEARS, the charitable Monte Rio Variety Show has rocked and awed and charmed the lower Russian River during the mid-summer run of the Bohemian Grove Encampment. The 109th show was set for Thursday.

The exclusive campout of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco was canceled this year because of the pandemic, but the variety show goes on — online.

There’s a virtual performance at www.monterioshow.wordpress.com. Visit the site and you’ll see there’s also an auction that seeks to raise essential dollars for the Monte Rio organizations that every year benefit from the show: St Catherine’s Church, Monte Rio Fire Services Foundation, and the Monte Rio School Foundation.

The auction closes at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 23.

You can contact Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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