TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — For more than five years, Kim Vaillancourt inspired her family and the Western New York community with her faith and strength as she bravely battled brain cancer. On Saturday night, April 24, 2021, she passed away peacefully. She was 41.
They had two children, Ryan and Hailey, and as Kim Vaillancourt was pregnant with their third child, they fostered and then adopted three little girls from a troubled home.
The family issued a statement on Sunday:
It is with tremendous heartache and sadness that I share that Kim Vaillancourt passed away peacefully surrounded by her family last night, April 24th at 10:52 p.m. Having known the Eisenhauer family my entire life, my heart is shattered for her husband Phil, her beautiful children, parents, and sisters.
Kim has been an inspiration to countless people, some she never met. Battling brain cancer (glioblastoma) with such courage and strength, she always had a smile on her face. Her faith was an inspiration to me and so many others. Thank you to all of you who have supported the family through this journey.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Just days after the adoption ceremony in December 2015, Kim Vaillancourt was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. Kim and Phil Vaillancourt always believed that the baby saved Kim's life, because had she not been pregnant, she never would have sought medical treatment for her persistent headaches, and doctors would've never found the tumors.
She underwent emergency brain surgery, but bravely chose to put off chemo and radiation, to protect the health of her unborn baby.
"Baby gave me a chance. I've got to give baby a chance," Kim Vaillancourt had said shortly after her diagnosis.
Doctors thought Kim Vaillancourt would live only one year. And she faced that devastating news with faith, grace and strength.
"We're hoping for a miracle, and we believe in that. Kim is tough. She's not going to give in and give up," said Phil Vaillancourt.
To watch original Vaillancourt story from February 2016, click here.
Kim Vaillancourt found her strength from God, and also from her husband. Phil Vaillancourt was her rock. He worked full time for the Town of Tonawanda, while parenting the six children and caring for Kim Vaillancourt.
"He's amazing. He does things most husbands don't do. He doesn't leave me. He's with me all the time," said Kim Vaillancourt.
The Vaillancourts said support from their extended families, including Kim's parents and three sisters, Phil's parents and brothers, as well as the community was overwhelming.
"It takes my breath away," said Phil Vaillancourt.
Western New York embraced Kim Vaillancourt in countless ways- fundraisers, messages of support, donations- when all the family ever asked for was prayers.
"Her faith, strength and love has inspired countless people and our community. It's heartwarming," said family friend and spokeswoman Jenna Koch.
Throughout it all, Kim Vaillancourt didn't ask why, and her faith never wavered.
"I'm in one of two places. I either get to stay with Phil and the kids and live a long life, or I get to go home and be home with Jesus. I'm ok," said Kim Vaillancourt in 2016.
Kim Vaillancourt defied the odds. She was given five more years with her family and created precious memories with Ryan, now 17-years-old, 16-year-old Hailey, 15-year-old Kamila, 12-year-old Josie and 11-year-old Chalie. And the baby, Wyatt, who is now 5-years-old, is old enough to remember his mommy.
In November 2020, the cancer returned and grew rapidly. Kim Vaillancourt chose to end further treatment, and to cherish every remaining moment with her family.
She hoped that as they look back on this journey, they always remember this:
"Just that I love them. That I would do anything for them. Any single one of them."
Kim Vaillancourt passed away on April 24, 2021. She was 41-years-old.
If you would like to help the Vaillancourt family, please donate to the family's Go Fund Me page, or send meal gift cards and messages of support to family friend Jenna Koch (firstname.lastname@example.org), 431 Adams Street, Tonawanda, NY 14150.