Sigi Nissimov, a professional bellydancer who owned the Life Movement Spirit and Dance Center on Saddle River Road, died Jan. 25 after a nearly two-year battle with adrenal cancer. She was 43.
Nissimov, whose fundraising efforts Patch profiled last May, turned to alternative medicine in August 2011, rather than pursue non-curative exploratory surgery or additional chemotherapy after doctors gave her only a few months to live.
Her alternative lifestyle, which involved eating only organic foods, having a biochemist monitor her blood levels, consulting with a Chinese doctor on her intake of herbal medicines and spending an hour each day in an infrared sauna, sustained her for nearly 18 months.
"Maybe I’m brave, maybe I’m stupid, but it doesn’t matter,” Nissimov said last May. “It was my decision to take control and I think now it’s working. The doctor told me three months and I’m already eight months after and feeling good, and that means a lot.”
To fund the expensive alternative treatments, Nissimov created a page titled “Against All Odds, A Belly Dancer is Fighting for Her Life,” on the online crowd funding site, Indiegogo, which allows individuals to create a web page detailing their campaign of choice and its funding goal.
Despite her terminal diagnosis, Nissimov was upbeat throughout her cancer battle and remained determined to help others in similarly dire circumstances.
“I’m planning to grow with this illness, to become stronger, and my vision eventually is to bring something to other people on this journey and to tell them it can be made in a different way, in a positive way," she said in May.
Throughout her struggle, Nissimov said it was dancing -- her life's passion -- that kept her going.
“The dancing was keeping me alive in a sense,” she said in May. “Even with the chemo and losing my hair and even when my legs and hands were numb, I would keep dancing.”
Nissimov is survived by her husband, Jack, and their two young children, Kai, 12, and Tia, 10.
Friends and family will celebrate Nissimov's life and raise funds to support her children at a March 2 event at the Women's Club in Ridgewood. For more information, email CelebrationOfLifeSigi@gmail.com.