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Bergen bellydancer fights for life, against all odds

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Video Credit: YouTube

A PLEA FOR HELP: Doctors have told Sigi Nissimov she doesn’t have long to live, but the popular Bergen County bellydancer isn’t buying it: She has given up the chemo and is pursuing alternative methods of treating her extremely rare adrenal cancer. B ut she needs help — now.

Sigi Nissimov

“Who says we can’t change fate?” Nissimov says. “Just because Western medicine says I only have a few months left, does that mean I should give up and accept it?”

She and her family have “cut as much as we could from our daily living expenses,” says Nissimov, 42, who had to step away from her Life Movement Spirit and Dance Center for children and adults in Fair Lawn.

“But in the end there is not enough at the end of the month to pay our bills. And that’s before we factor in the cost of all the different treatments I am trying.

“I want my kids to feel like nothing is wrong, so we are trying to keep them enrolled in after school activities as best as we can — but that costs money as well,” the Glen Rock businesswoman says.

As of this morning, nearly $3,000 in donations  have been pledged in less than three days, toward a goal of $20,000 by April 1.

All money raised “will go towards one purpose and and one purpose only,” she says, on a page posted on by her brother-in-law, David Reif. “It will allow me to go out and try all different kind of alternative therapies that have worked for other people: Infrared saunas, herbal medicines, specific diets based on blood chemistry, etc., etc.”

Nissimov, who has two children with her husband, Jack, was diagnosed about 18 months ago.

“The doctors at Sloan Kettering offered me surgery and chemo as my best chance of prolonging my life,” she writes, “but even then they weren’t giving me much time, maybe a  year at best. I did what they told me to do. I went and had surgery to have the tumor removed and I went thru six grueling rounds of chemotherapy.”

The cancer returned, and in August she was given no more than six months to live.

“They told me there was no cure and other than a miracle there was nothing more they can do,” Nissimov says.

So what? she says.

“There are stories of people who have tried these alternative ways and have lived decades longer than what they were told,” she writes. “I need to buy all organic foods, I need to pay the bio chemist who is monitoring my blood levels, I need to fly to see the Chinese doctor who is advising me on what herbal medicines I should be taking.

“I need to buy those herbal medicines, which can run up to $700 per month. Part of the therapy is sitting in an infrared sauna twice a day for 1/2 hour at a time.

“If I can eliminate the stress of worrying how to pay for my treatments, then I can focus on actually getting better. The doctors say the less stress I encounter, the stronger my body will be to fight this cancer.

“I know times are tough and a lot of you have already helped me. But this is my life and I need to fight this,” Nissimov writes. “Can you skip that night out once? Can you watch a movie at home instead  of going to the theater.”

In return, she says, “the best I can offer you today is the knowledge that you helped my kids  have their mother around as they grow up and get married.”

Nissimov asks that people also spread her story, in the hopes of connecting with those who can help.

Against all odds

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