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Amanda De Fiebre

1985 - 2019
Amanda De Fiebre Obituary
de Fiebre
Amanda Lynn de Fiebre, 34, of Jacksonville, Florida, an avid traveler and passionate advocate for cancer patients, died of metastatic breast cancer Aug. 30, 2019, at the home she shared with her husband, Youness Aitsaidoualla. Amanda was born April 30, 1985, to Henry and Karen Rothe de Fiebre and grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. An adventurer and lover of water, she graduated from Wauwatosa West High School in 2003 and attended Albion College in Michigan, swimming competitively at both schools. She played violin in the orchestra at West and at Albion, and was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. In college, Amanda became a confirmed international traveler, making her first visit to Africa on a school-related trip to Cameroon and studying abroad in Cork, Ireland. She dubbed the latter her favorite four months of college. A cut-rate airline allowed her to spend almost every weekend traveling from Ireland to cities in Europe. After receiving her B.A. in history in 2007, she applied to the Peace Corps and eventually was sent to Swaziland (now Eswatini). For two years, she integrated into a rural homestead and community there and worked on health projects. Once her service ended, Amanda took her savings and traveled, often on her own, for half a year through Africa and Europe. It was during this time, in Marrakech, she met the man who would become her husband and traveling companion. They backpacked together and fell in love. Back in the States, Amanda introduced Youness to her family in Florida, Wisconsin and Minnesota when he came to visit, volunteered at Grace Place and as a docent at Palm Cottage in Naples, Florida, then took a job in New York City with a high school foreign exchange organization. But in December 2013 she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. She moved to Naples to be closer to family. Three months after the worst day of her life came the best day of her life—March 27, 2014, the day she married Youness in a joyous ceremony on the beach. Following her initial cancer treatments at Florida Cancer Specialists in Bonita Springs, she participated in a clinical trial for an experimental cancer drug at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. She and Youness moved to the Tampa Bay Area. They also traveled to Poland, Latvia and Germany, and then to Morocco. In Morocco, Amanda's family met Youness' parents, Addi Aitsaidoualla and Fatima Ait Baali, and his brother, three sisters, nieces and nephews in his home town of Midelt. But while she was trying to live a post-cancer life, Amanda continued to be disturbed by half truths and misperceptions about breast cancer. Then her cancer metastasized to her brain in early 2016, making her cancer incurable. It later also spread to her liver. She became an outspoken advocate and educator who wanted people to know early detection wasn't a cure, young women and men can get breast cancer and the best way to save lives is through scientific research not "awareness" and pink parades. She lived that philosophy, participating in more clinical trials at Moffitt Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, and encouraging others to seek out trials for themselves and those in the future. She also spent many hours online educating and encouraging other breast cancer patients, and attended national advocacy events and oncology conferences. In 2018, she went to Lisbon, Portugal, for the International Consensus Conference for Advanced Breast Cancer, and had received a grant to attend this year's conference. Friends in the metastatic breast cancer community said people were drawn to her pure heart and her love of life and travel. Her story and legacy will live on in the hearts of her "metasisters" and brothers who will remember her as a loyal friend and a person who made a difference in so many lives. Amanda is survived by her husband; her parents; her brother, Jonathan; her beloved nephew, Matthew; a slew of aunts, uncles and cousins; plus her much-loved family in Morocco. A memorial service will be scheduled later. By her count, Amanda traveled through nearly two dozen foreign countries and all but four of the states. "It's been an amazing life," she said. "I just wished it could've lasted longer."Still, what Amanda wanted most was to have children and grow old with her husband. Metastatic cancer robbed her of the opportunity. So Amanda's fondest wish for any remembrance would be a donation to METAvivor (www.metavivor.org), an all-volunteer organization that devotes all monies raised to metastatic breast cancer research.
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Published in the Florida Times-Union from Sept. 5 to Sept. 6, 2019
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