“It’s like the breath taken out of you,” Telene Pyles, Tim’s wife, said. “Because he just buried two uncles, an aunt, and all of them died of cancer, so we didn’t think the end result was going to be this good.”
To cope with the mental and physical drain of cancer, Tim found himself spending days out at his barn, talking to the cows. He always had a dream of starting a small cattle farm — coupled with his desire to provide an economic cushion for his wife and kids, he purchased cattle in February 2021.
Telene knew Tim needed the space to “scream and holler, cry, whatever [he] needed to do,” when he spent days at the farm, but she felt anxious when she noticed her social butterfly starting to isolate himself.
Kentucky, specifically the Appalachian region of the state, faces the highest cancer burden in the country. For families like the Pyles family in Monticello, Ky., losing loved ones to cancer is disturbingly ordinary.