What started as a local movement of prayer for the loving Vaillancourt family of Tonawanda, NY, has since spread far and wide across the nation. The prayers initially centered around Kim and her unborn baby when the pregnant mom of 5 found out she had an aggressive form of brain cancer. God’s power has been present throughout the pregnancy, and the call of prayers continues as Kim now fights for her own life!
God blessed Kim and Phil Vaillancourt with huge hearts. The happy couple already had 2 biological children of their own when they decided to foster 3 sisters. All 3 came from the same troubled home, and one of the girls was special needs after being born without arms or legs.
Once Vaillancourts had opened their home and their hearts to the sweet girls, there was no question that it was right where God wanted them. So, the family started the adoption process.
In the midst of all of that, the couple was thrilled to receive an unexpected blessing — Kim was pregnant! The newest member to the quickly growing brood was was due in May of the following year!
The Christmas season that year was filled with even more excitement, as the family finalized the adoption of the 3 girls.
Sadly, the celebration was cut short by some very terrible news for the pregnant mom.
Over Christmas, Kim experienced severe headaches and nausea. With all of the kids home on break, she did what most moms do — she soldiered on. And she probably would have continued to do so, if it weren’t for the life growing inside of her. The pain and illness became so severe, the pregnant mom feared for the health of her unborn son.
Phil rushed Kim to the hospital, where they received the devastating news that Kim had stage four glioblastoma — a type of cancer that’s tough to treat because of the aggressive rate at which the tumors grow.
The doctors found two tumors in Kim’s brain, and estimated she may have had only weeks, if not days, to live because of the rapid rate in which they were growing.
“If it wasn’t for the baby, she probably would’ve never gone to the hospital. With her severe headache and nausea and she would’ve laid in bed thinking it was the flu, and she would’ve possibly not been here today,” said Phil. “We definitely feel that God put that baby in her for a reason; pretty much to save her life.”
Kim was rushed into surgery to remove the tumors that were threatening her life, and the life of her baby boy. And that was when the prayers began.
Those prayers were answered, and the surgery was a success for the pregnant mom!
However, the next step was to start chemotherapy. With this type of cancer, the tumors could return as quickly as 8 to 12 weeks, and without treatment, the doctors estimated Kim would only have 6 to 8 months left to live.
Though chemo was the best course of action to save Kim, the radiation would of course be risky for her unborn baby — a risk the pregnant mom was entirely unwilling to take.
“The baby gave me a chance. I’ve got to give baby a chance,” said Kim.
So, Kim went for MRI’s every 2 weeks so that doctors could watch out for new tumors, and the entire community of Tonawanda joined the family in praying the scans would remain clean throughout the pregnancy.
And again, God provided!
Wyatt Eli, meaning “little warrior sent by God,” was born 6-weeks premature on April 8th. And though he was early, he was born healthy! And thanks to his early arrival, Kim will begin the chemo treatments sooner, in the hopes that it will save her life.
The entire town of Tonawanda has rallied around the Vaillancourts, not just in prayer, but also by hosting fundraisers and a GoFundMe page to help support the single-income family with the unexpected influx of medical bills. As a result, more and more people around the country have started following the Vaillancourt’s story, with everyone praying for a miracle.
God has already provided one such miracle in the healthy birth of little Wyatt Eli — a blessing for which Kim is incredibly grateful. And right now, she’s focused on just spending time focusing on this gift with God.
"She's extremely positive, extremely happy. She was just overjoyed," says Meghan, Kim’s sister, on Kim’s post-pregnancy condition.
As Kim prepares to start chemotherapy, you might expect the bleak circumstances to dampen the family’s spirits. But true faith is not always about everything turning out okay, but rather being okay no matter how things turn out.
"Kim and Phil's faith has never been stronger," said Jenna Koch, a close friend acting as the family’s spokeswoman. "Their faith has guided them through every step of the way."
And it’s that unwavering faith that brings Kim peace as she prepares to battle this terrible disease.
"I'm in one of two places," says the brave mom. "I either get to stay with Phil and the kids and live a long life. Or I get to go home and be with Jesus. I'm OK. [Phil's] the one that's stuck holding everything and trying to juggle all of this craziness."
Though the struggles they face are incredibly difficult, God’s presence has been clear throughout. The love, support and prayers that have poured in have been absolutely overwhelming to this amazing family, as well as to all who’ve walked with them through their journey.
“People have wrapped their hearts around this family,” says Jenna, who’s been instrumental in overseeing and organizing fundraising efforts.
For example, one church in Eagle, Idaho dedicated an entire service to the Vaillancourt family after one of its members, Jacki Corta, heard their story and shared it with other church members. Jacki had recently lost her husband to glioblastoma.
So come on prayer warriors — let’s keep that momentum going! Share this story with everyone you know and ask them to join you in prayers for Kim and her family!
**UPDATE — Kim’s tumors are not gone, but they also aren’t growing***
Full statement from the family via WGRZ News:
August 10, 2017 Tonawanda, NY: Jenna Koch, long-time family friend and official spokesperson of the Vaillancourt Family has issued the following statement to Melissa Holmes and WGRZ, Channel 2 News.
“Kim Vaillancourt announced yesterday that the results from her recent MRI were consistent with her previous MRI. We are elated to report there is no new growth. Kim is doing well and improving each day.
With the new school year fast approaching, the children are looking forward to the upcoming school year. Baby Wyatt is also growing by leaps and bounds.
Kim and her family are incredibly blessed and extremely thankful for all the prayers they have received from all over. The support we have received has been completely inspiring. Our heartfelt thanks to all who have prayed and continue to pray for our family.”
The next MRI and CT scan are both scheduled for early October.
Words of encouragement and cards of well wishes can be sent to Jennahrkoch@gmail.com or to 431 Adam St. Tonawanda, NY 14150.
See what this brave mom endured for the sake of her unborn baby!