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Human Interest

Minnesota Mom of Two Diagnosed with Cancer Hours After Husband Dies From ALS: ‘I’m Not Ready to Give Into It’

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A 36-year-old Minnesota mother was diagnosed with cancer just hours after her husband died from ALS.

The mom of two boys — 6 years old and 5 years old — was on the phone with the funeral director on June 16 when her doctor called and told her the devastating news.

“That’s when she said, ‘It’s cancer and it doesn’t look good,’ ” Tessie Sylvester of Minneapolis told WCCO.

Before she was given her diagnosis, Tessie’s husband John, 44, a former Minnesota Thunder soccer player, told her that morning that he knew it was his last day alive.

“John and I just kept crying and praying and he kept telling me ‘It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay,’ ” she says about their final moments together.

Tessie was shocked to find out that she now has her own battle to take on.

“I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t in pain,” she told the news outlet.

After a routine checkup, her blood work led to a biopsy, which showed that she has adenocarcinoma, a type of cancerous tumor that can occur in several parts of the body. While doctors told she has a mass on her liver, it could also be elsewhere in her body.

According to a GoFundMe page that was created for her family — which has already brought in over $114,000 — it’s unclear what the primary source of the cancer is, but it has metastasized to Tessie’s liver and lymph nodes, making surgery not an option for her.

“I think John went when he did because he knew that I needed some protection from another place, to stay with our boys,” she told WCCO.

Tessie— who was the breadwinner in the family as John’s health began to deteriorate — still manages to stay positive.

“I always thought it wasn’t fair what happened to John, but he always had such light to him,” she said. “I don’t want to say it’s not fair yet, because I’m not ready to give into it.”

According to the GoFundMe page, Tessie is terrified by the thought of leaving her sons.

“She is going to do everything she can to fight this cancer. She will have chemotherapy to try to keep it at bay and buy her time with her sons,” a statement on the page reads.