The Mother of the Town of Tonawanda inspired Western New Yorkers with her faith, courage and hope during the more than five years she battled glioblastoma.
CITY OF TONAWANDA, NY – For over five years, Kim Vaillancourt inspired her family and the Western New York community with her faith and strength as she bravely fought brain cancer. She passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, April 24, 2021. She was 41.
A graduate of Tonawanda High School, Kim Eisenhauer married her love, Phil Vaillancourt, 20 years ago.
They had two children, Ryan and Hailey, and since Kim Vaillancourt was pregnant with their third child, they nursed and adopted three little girls from a troubled home.
Kim’s sisters made this statement on Sunday:
It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of my sister Kim. Last night (April 24, 2121) at 10:52 PM, Kim took her last peaceful breath to enter her eternal paradise with God surrounded by family. Kim has been fighting a miraculous battle with brain cancer for the past 5 years and she is finally at peace. Thank you to everyone who followed her story and offered support, prayers, love, and gifts. Everyone’s efforts allowed us to be strong for Kim and her family. Rest in peace and fly high my beautiful angel !! I will miss you forever. #staykimstrong
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 have always believed the baby saved Kim’s life because if she hadn’t been pregnant, she would never have sought medical treatment for her persistent headache, and the doctors would never have found the tumors.
She underwent brain surgery, but boldly chose to postpone chemotherapy and radiation to protect the health of her unborn baby.
‘The baby has given me a chance. I have to give the baby a chance, ”Kim Vaillancourt had said shortly after her diagnosis.
Doctors thought Kim Vaillancourt would only live for one year. And she faced that devastating news with faith, grace, and strength.
“We hope for a miracle, and we believe in it. Kim is tough. She won’t give in and give up,” said Phil Vaillancourt.
Click here to view the original Vaillancourt story from February 2016.
Kim Vaillancourt found her strength with God, and also with her husband. Phil Vaillancourt was her rock. He worked full-time for the town of Tonawanda, raising the six children and caring for Kim Vaillancourt.
“He’s great. He does things that most men don’t. He doesn’t leave me. He’s always with me,” said Kim Vaillancourt.
The Vaillancourts said the support of their extended families, including Kim’s parents and three sisters, Phil’s parents and brothers, as well as the community was overwhelming.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Phil Vaillancourt.
Western New York embraced Kim Vaillancourt in countless ways – fundraisers, expressions of support, donations – when the whole family had once asked for prayers.
“Her faith, strength and love has inspired countless people and our community. It is heartwarming,” said family friend and spokeswoman Jenna Koch.
All the while, Kim Vaillancourt did not ask why, and her faith never wavered.
“I’m in one of two places. I can either stay with Phil and the kids and live a long life, or I can go home and be home with Jesus. I’m fine,” said Kim Vaillancourt in 2016.
Kim Vaillancourt defied the odds. She was with her family for five more years and created fond memories with Ryan, now 17-year-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 mother.
In November 2020, the cancer returned and grew rapidly. Kim Vaillancourt chose to end further treatment and cherish every remaining moment with her family.
She hoped that when they look back on this journey, they will always remember this:
‘Just that I love them. That I would do anything for them. Each of them.’
Kim Vaillancourt died on April 24, 2021. She was 41 years old.
If you’d like to help the Vaillancourt family, donate to the family’s Go Fund Me page or send meal gift certificates and endorsements to family friend Jenna Koch (firstname.lastname@example.org), 431 Adams Street, Tonawanda, NY 14150.
The following is a statement from Jenna Koch on Sunday:
It is with immense heartache and sorrow that I share that Kim Vaillancourt passed away peacefully surrounded by her family last night, April 24 at 10:52 pm. Having known the Eisenhauer family all my life, my heart is broken for her husband Phil, her beautiful children, parents and sisters.
Kim has been an inspiration to countless people, some of which she has never met. She fights brain cancer (glioblastoma) with such courage and strength and always had a smile on her face. Her faith was an inspiration to me and many others. Thanks to all who have supported the family on this journey.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”