When Kim Vaillancourt was 20 weeks pregnant, she and her husband of 15 years, Phil, adopted three sisters after three years of fostering them. The Buffalo, New York–based couple were over the moon. “This was such a joyful time for our family,” Phil tells Us Weekly. But on Christmas Day 2015, just 48 hours after expanding their brood, Kim began suffering from excruciating headaches. She thought they were migraines. But it was something far worse. On December 27, MRI tests revealed tumors on the left frontal lobe of Kim’s brain and her brain stem.
Kim underwent eight hours of surgery to have the tumors removed on December 29. And that is when the Vaillancourt family received devastating news: Kim was suffering from Grade 4 glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Phil, 37, told local new station WGRZ they believe their unborn child is responsible for saving Kim’s life.
“If it wasn’t for the baby, she probably would’ve never gone to the hospital with her severe headache and nausea,” he said. “And she would’ve laid in bed thinking it was the flu, and she would’ve possibly not been here today. We definitely feel that God put that baby in her for a reason; pretty much to save her life.”
The mom of five is expected to deliver her little boy Wyatt Eli — meaning: brave warrior sent from God — on April 25. Though the life expectancy of a person with her diagnosis is more than a year with treatment, and six to eight months for those without — Kim has chosen no chemotherapy or radiation until her baby can be safely delivered. For now, the plan is for Kim to have an MRI every two weeks.
“As long as the scans come back ‘clean,’ we are blessed with another day that baby boy Wyatt can grow,” Kim tells Us Weekly. “Wyatt gave me a chance, and I am going to give him a chance.”
While Kim tells Us that she is “at peace,” the stay-at-home mom admits her illness has created some chaos in the Vaillancourt household. Phil, who is employed as a senior maintenance worker in the Town of Tonawanda’s wastewater treatment plant, has stepped up.
“Phil has taken over,” she reveals. “He is doing a great job. But, we are all still in transition.”
Also pitching in with the chores: biological children Ryan, 12, Hailey, 11, and newest family members Kamila, 10, Josie, 7, and Charlie, 6. Their daughter Josie was born without arms or legs.
“We live by our faith. We trust in God completely,” Kim says. “I am protected either way. I will go home with Jesus or I will be here with my husband and kids.”
Family friend Jenna Koch has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for Kim’s medical bills and other expenses. Words of encouragement can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org