On June 16, at the age of 44, John “Sly” Sylvester passed away after a six-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
In his wake and grieving his loss were his two sons – Gus, 6, and Freddy, 5 – and his wife Tessie Sylvester.
As the Minnesota family pulled together and began organising his funeral, navigating a single-parent family and one pushing on without their “beloved” father and husband, Tessie received a phone call.
“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. That’s when she said ‘It’s cancer and it doesn’t look good,’” Tessie told CBS News.
It was cancer of an inoperable kind.
“I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t in pain,” she told CBS, flawed at her sudden and terribly-timed diagnosis.
The cancer is called adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that forms in mucus-secreting glands. The family say it is unclear what the primary source of the cancer is, but it has reached the 36-year-old’s liver and lymph nodes. It’s because of this, she says, surgeons are unable to operate.
Now, a GoFundMe page has been set up for the young family to help curb mounting medical costs, in a bid to buy Tessie some time with her two young boys.
The fundraiser explains that Tessie, as a young woman, spent her time working tirelessly as a dentist for those in low-income communities.