TAMPA, Fla. – Vikki and Catherine Pinkos don’t share your typical mother/daughter bond. The pair underwent a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy before Catherine was even born. Doctors diagnosed Vikki with Hodgkin Lymphoma when she was seven months pregnant. She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy before giving birth to her daughter via emergency C-section. Pinkos continued with chemotherapy and radiation treatment while taking care of a newborn.
Vikki loved being a mother and was devastated when the cancer came back shortly before her daughter’s first birthday. She underwent chemotherapy again, but it took more of a toll on her body than it did the first time. At the recommendation of her doctor, Vikki underwent an autologous stem cell transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center.
She spent 21 days in the hospital during the transplant and couldn’t wait to be home with her daughter. Vikki says, “All I wanted to do was survive and live and watch my daughter grow up. My daughter is my heart’s desire. I’ve said so many times that she saved me.”
When Vikki hit the five-year mark of being cancer-free, she decided to give back to the place that gave her the opportunity to watch her little girl grow up. Today, Vikki works in the recovery room at Moffitt caring for patients who are coming in and out of surgery. When patients need a little extra courage, she tells them her own story of survival.
As Vikki gets ready to celebrate her 11th Mother’s Day, she is grateful to celebrate with her daughter who was a beam of sunshine during her darkest days and continues to be the light of her life. Learn more about Vikki at http://bit.ly/1QNu0Wz.
To speak with Vikki or to learn of other unique Moffitt Mother’s Day stories, please call 813-745-1353.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. One of the three largest cancer centers in the United States based on patient volume, the Tampa-based facility is one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. With more than 5,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $1.9 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.