If You Need Anything, Come See Me
At first glance you’d never know Aaron Sims is battling an extremely rare form of carcinoma. At 42 years old, he is always wearing a smile and looking on the bright side of life.
In 2021, Aaron underwent surgery at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist (AHWFB) to remove cancerous growths on his toe and thigh. While he recovered at home in Elkin, North Carolina, Aaron’s wife worried about his next phase of treatment. Aaron would need daily radiation therapy in Winston-Salem for 6 weeks. For the first 2 weeks Aaron was able to make the 45-minute drive to and from Winston-Salem. But on the 3rd week, he experienced car trouble, leaving Aaron with no reliable transportation to get to Winston-Salem.
A cancer care coordinator from AHWFB called to check on Aaron. Upon learning of his struggles, she told him about the SECU Family House. He could stay at the Family House during the week and use the hospital shuttle to get to and from appointments. There would be evening meals provided by volunteers and he would receive a quiet, private room where he could relax.
Knowing that financially, any additional expenses would put a strain on his ability to receive treatment, she also inquired about financial assistance and learned about the Family Assistance Fund.
Aaron jumped at the opportunity and the next week he resumed his daily radiation therapy in Winston-Salem. The Family House provided Aaron with a much-needed place of respite where he could heal. His private room allowed him the opportunity to rest and recharge every day, helping to speed along his recovery between appointments. Aaron’s wife benefited as well. She gained comfort knowing that Aaron was well cared for during his stays, instead of worrying about his drives back and forth to Elkin. Had the SECU Family House not existed, Aaron isn’t sure he would have been able to continue with his treatments. He is grateful for the support and security of the Family House.
He is also thankful for new friends. While prepping for his morning session at the hospital, Aaron struck up a conversation with a fellow patient – an older gentleman who had been undergoing radiation for some time. Later that evening, while getting dinner in the Family House kitchen Aaron heard his name shouted from across the room. Aaron turned and recognized the familiar, friendly face looking back at him — the gentleman from the hospital. The man asked how his treatment went, and said,
“If you need anything, come see me, I’m in room 119.”
That type of camaraderie and fellowship is commonplace in the Family House. No one experiences life alone. But at the SECU Family House, staff, guests, and volunteers form a unique family bond that extends throughout and beyond their stay at the house. When the gentleman and his wife checked out from the Family House, they gave Aaron a card. Inside they left their contact information. Aaron still has that card; he keeps it safely on his bureau – a reminder that while he may be away from home, he is not alone.
Aaron completed his last radiation treatment on February 18th. He is back at home in Elkin, resuming his normal activities. He will return to Winston-Salem later in the year for regular checkups and scans to keep an eye on his elusive cancer. But thanks to a talented group of doctors, a caring family, and the SECU Family House, his future is bright – just like his friendly smile.