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Aimee - Breast Cancer

Aimee - Breast Cancer

If you need to know anything about Aimée Huff – she’s all about family.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Aimée lives only six short blocks away from the house she grew up in. She has two sons, ages 8 and 12, with her high school sweetheart and husband, Tom. She works as a financial advisor for an independent firm, where she manages financial solutions and plans for clients.

But last spring, just shy of her 40th birthday, something happened that was not according to plan. Aimée found a lump in her breast.

She spotted the lump while toweling off after a shower. Staring at the tumor through the fogged mirror, Aimée knew she was just a few weeks away from her annual OBGYN appointment. Could she wait? She could wait. It’s probably nothing. It was nothing, she thought to herself. What would a couple of weeks matter? But by the persistence of her husband, Aimée got a referral for a mammogram. Days later she sat in an exam room and listened to her radiologist utter the words “I will be surprised if this is not cancer.”

The day was May 18, 2015, her aunt’s birthday. She died in 1999 after a battle with breast cancer.

“I had someone looking out for me that day,” Aimée recalls. “She wanted me to find it.”

She was diagnosed with Stage 2B/3A Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. The cancer had already spread to her lymph-nodes. As a financial advisor, cracking numbers and knowing her odds was second nature. So one of the first phone calls Aimée made was to her uncle in Georgia, who is a doctor. She knew he would be direct with her.

“Very early on, he told me I needed proton therapy,” she said. “When you get diagnosed with cancer, there are so many steps to figure out. I researched anything and everything, and all signs pointed to proton therapy.”

After months of chemotherapy and surgeries, Aimée went for proton therapy. The biggest appeal? The precision of the beam therapy, which protects healthy tissue and focuses on the tumor only. The biggest hurdle? Insurance.

Aimée did her research and knew this wasn’t only a hurdle – it wasn’t just a stumbling block. It was a matter of life or death.

“I’m a planner for a living. And my plan is for my heart and lungs to last another 60 years,” Aimée said. “I have two little boys and they are everything to me. The idea that I might survive cancer but eventually die of a cardiac event, was totally unacceptable to me.”

She met with Dr. Fang and started treatment shortly thereafter, totaling just under six weeks. And as of April 16, she completed her final proton treatment.

As a Center tradition, Aimée’s formal graduation day came on Wednesday, April 13. Gathered with family and close friends, she received her medal of honor in the form of a “challenge coin” -- engraved with her patient number, 891. The coin signifies her fight against cancer, so she can put this chapter of her life behind her.

Today, Aimée looks forward to the summer season, getting outdoors and spending more time with her family – and putting this chapter behind her. 

“Everyone at SCCA Proton Therapy Center has been amazing and for what isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience, they make it very tolerable,” Aimée said. “My family saved me. But so did the proton therapy center. And all of these people I’ve gotten to know over the last five weeks. They are, in fact, my family. And I will miss them terribly.”

Listen to Aimee's story.

Additional Survivor Story Image
Additional Survivor Story Image