Fighting back against aggressive cancer

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Community rallies behind ailing business owner

INNISFAIL – An Innisfail woman is in the fight of her life.

Nickole Pimlott was diagnosed with a very rare and very aggressive cancer, at a very late stage.

The 34-year-old single mother recently learned she has Stage 4 sinonasal teratocarcinosarcoma.

“My actual diagnosis was in June, but we’ve been searching for answers since February,” said Pimlott.

It all began with pain in her teeth. Thinking it was an abscess at first, she later found out what was bothering her was actually a cancerous tumour growing in her sinus cavity.

“I left it for a while and thought if it’s infected, I need antibiotics first, so I went to the doctor and it turned out the pain was in my maxillary sinus,” she said, noting they gave her antibiotics and treated it as a sinus infection for a couple of months.

“In April I started getting a lump and it grew fast,” she added. “It ate away my jawbone and I had to have four molars pulled plus my two wisdom teeth. Then (the tumour) migrated down into my mouth.”

While the tumour has appeared to have stopped growing since she began radiation and chemo several weeks ago, her prognosis is grim.

“They’ve only given me weeks to live even with treatment,” said Pimlott. “We are hopeful that the tumour will start to shrink in the next week or so and that will give me more time.”

An early diagnosis was difficult to pinpoint she added, because of the type of cancer.

“Sinus cancer is hardly ever caught in the early stages because it looks like a sinus infection,” explained Pimlott, noting her family and friends have been supportive.

Her sister Natasha Kuchera has set up a GoFundMe page in late May to help with living expenses, travel costs to appointments in Calgary and to help run her sister’s business, Sage & Soul, that her sister opened about a year ago in downtown Innisfail.

“If she’s not running the business, she’s not paying bills and she won’t have means to live and pay rent,” said Kuchera. “She’s got her son to take care of so the Go Fund Me page was set up for that purpose.”

Her goal is to raise $65,000 and so far it has raised just under $3,000.

“Now that we know that her prognosis is just weeks to live potentially, now we are (focusing our efforts) to raise money because I want to make sure that her son Jared is taken care of in the future.”

The Innisfail community has responded and is joining the family in rallying around Pimlott to show their support.

John’s NoFrills is taking up a collection at the checkout from July 27 to Aug. 9 to help raise funds for Nickole. On its first day it raised $440. Donations can also be made at the Fox and Hound sports bar in Innisfail and organizations like the Innisfail Cyclones are encouraging the community to show their support.

A fundraising slo-pitch tournament in Bowden is also being held Aug. 10, 11 and 12.

With her family and the community supporting her, Pimlott said she is living one day at a time.

“I’ve just been taking it day by day, the best that I can,” she said. “I try not to live in fear, but it’s hard.

“Mentally I do feel strong. I’m very positive,” added Pimlott. “I know that everything happens for a reason and that this is part of my journey, so I’m just taking it as that and staying as positive as possible.

“I believe I’m going to be OK and I’m going to beat this,” she said.

“I have faith that everything is going to work out in the end.

“It’s not how I thought my life was going to go but this is just how it is. It’s out of my control. I’m staying positive, taking every day as it comes and I’m grateful for the time that I do have,” Pimlott concluded.

To donate, visit her GoFundMe page (under Nickole Pimlott), contact Natasha Kuchera at 587-876-2065 or via email at nkuchera85@gmail.com

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About Author

Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2015. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.