Sylvester Joy and Sunshine Fund

$316,975 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 4,425 people in 21 months
Created June 19, 2017
Tessie needs us now!

For the last six years, Tessie Sylvester has cared for her husband, John “Sly” Sylvester, as he battled ALS.  John, a beloved soccer coach and most importantly a beloved husband and dad to Gus (6) and Freddy (5), passed away on Friday, June 16 at the age of 44.

John’s greatest hope was that Tessie and his boys would be cared for and live long, healthy lives. But just days before his death, Tessie learned that she has cancer. It’s adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that forms in mucus-secreting glands. It’s unclear what the primary source of the cancer is, but it has metastasized to Tessie’s liver and lymph nodes. Because of this, surgery is not an option for Tessie.

Tessie is terrified by the thought of leaving her sons without their daddy and mommy. She is only 36 years old and 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.

Tessie is self-insured and now a single parent. She will not be able to work during treatment. She needs our help, and she needs it now!

John and Tessie always gave back!

John and Tessie met in 2001 while they were both coaching summer youth soccer. They were brought together by their love of soccer, their dedication to their families, their strong faith and their belief in giving back to the community.

John spent his adult life helping others. He played for the Minnesota Thunder professional soccer team in the late 1990s, then worked in the Minneapolis Public Schools, Harvest African-centered Prep School in North Minneapolis, and as the girl’s coaching director for the Minneapolis United Soccer Club. John was dedicated to helping young people realize their dreams.

 As a young woman, Tessie worked hard to obtain an academic scholarship to St. Thomas University and later completed dental school so that she could provide a much-needed service in low-income communities. For many years she worked as a dentist in a free dental clinic in St. Paul serving homeless and marginalized people, and for the past few years has juggled motherhood, caring for John, and working at West St. Paul Family Dentistry.

Together John and Tessie could light up a room with their smiles. 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. Donate now. And make it possible for Tessie to get the treatment she needs and to spend as much time as possible with her beloved sons.

When you share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, please use the hashtag #helpforsylvesters to help us reach an even wider audience.
Twitter @SJSFund
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18 years ago, on this small soccer field in Woodbury, while coaching little kids, I met the man who would become my husband and the father of my children. We ended up here today, one year after losing John, on Father’s Day, watching little kids play soccer. Completely full circle.

In this past year, the boys and I have cried, screamed, remembered, laughed, and ached in a world without their Daddy. We have learned a new way to be, and yet struggled with not being able to be held or hugged by John.

Our Gus and Freddy, our Joy & Sunshine, are everything and more than John and I hoped they would be. To say that they are resilient does not even do them justice. They are the sweetest, most courageous, hilarious, sincere, empathetic, and joyful children I have ever met. They are the reason I have made it this far.

And our families and friends are the reason that the three of us as a family have survived. One year ago we lost John and on that very same day learned that I had cancer. On that day I did not think that I would make it to the next - but here I am. I am here with my 2 beautiful boys. I am still here one year later.

I am here because of the love, prayers and support from our circle. My mom, dad, brothers and sisters have veered off track from their own lives in order to envelop our family. I have been blessed with friends who are a constant source of prayer, encouragement and needed escape for us.

And then there is our community, the total strangers who have given time, prayer, donations, food, random hugs at Target…Without this entire network we would not be where we are today.

So, I can say it has been one year. We still miss John everyday, but we also revel in our memories and abundant laughter that we shared together. I continue to undergo chemotherapy for the cancer, but we are holding steady. We continue to fight as a family and to enjoy every day we have together.

We thank you, every one of you, those we know and those we may never meet but who have touched our lives so deeply. We kindly ask for your continued prayers and positive energy both for the healing of my cancer and for the healing of our family’s heartache.

Our love is with you all and our gratitude will never be enough.

With Love & Strength,
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Feeling strong after second dose of chemo...Tessie can battle!
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A big huge "Thank You" from Gus the Joy & Freddy Sunshine!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Sylvester Family. Your support has meant so much and it is helping them stay strong and battle on!
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"I don’t want to say it’s not fair yet, because I’m not ready to give into it.”
Let's help her fight! #helpforsylvesters
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$316,975 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 4,425 people in 21 months
Created June 19, 2017
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