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Minnesota Mom Diagnosed With Inoperable Cancer Hours After Losing Her Husband to ALS

Tessie Sylvester’s world came crashing down on June 16. Just hours after her beloved husband, John Sylvester, died following a six-year battle with ALS, the Minnesota-based dentist received a devastating diagnosis. “I was literally on the phone with the funeral director, and the other line beeped and it was my doctor and so I clicked over and answered it,” she told CBS Minnesota. “That’s when she said ‘It’s cancer and it doesn’t look good.”

Tessie Sylvester, John Sylvester, Gus and Freddy
Tessie Sylvester and husband John Sylvester with their sons Gus and Freddy

The mom of Gus, 6, and Freddy, 5, went in for a routine checkup with blood work, which led to a biopsy. “I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t in pain,” Tessie, 36, told CBS Minnesota. By the time it was discovered, Tessie’s cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes and liver. And it was inoperable.

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“I think John went when he did because he knew that I needed protection from another place, to stay with our kids,” Tessie, who is undergoing chemo, said.

Though Tessie is terrified about leaving her children she is trying to stay positive. “There are a lot of people in the world that things aren’t fair for,” she told Fox 9. “Some of those situations I can’t imagine myself in their shoes. I try not to dwell on the not fair. It can always be worse.”

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A GoFundMe account was launched to help the family with medical costs. “Together, John and Tessie could light up a room with their smiles,” reads the GoFundMe. “Help Tessie continue to light up the world with her smile, her kindness and her warmth. Gus and Freddy, John and Tessie’s joy and sunshine, need their mama. Please help.”

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