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Facing Cancer with Hope and High Heels

a woman smiles with her feet up on the table
Emma Houston and her red heels

After Emma Houston learned she had breast cancer, the first thing she did was go shopping to buy shoes.

"I bought red three-inch high heels because I had a place to go, which was cancer treatment," she says with a laugh.

Emma's humor and positive outlook were as much a hallmark of her cancer journey as those heels. During fourteen months of breast cancer treatment at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), Emma received a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy while insisting on doing the things that made her feel good.

"Even when I was sick enough that I came for treatments in a wheelchair, I wore the red heels because they make me feel beautiful. The infusion nurses always noticed—'I love those shoes'—every time."

Emma says the infusion nurses were "lifesavers" in working through difficulties while always keeping her comfort in mind. "They warmed my arms and gave me blankets during treatments," she says. "They must see a lot of pain and anger in their work, yet through it all they maintain a great attitude."

The care Emma received at HCI left an impact. "I know people show up in my life for a reason," she says. "The people at HCI helped me get through the experience of cancer."