Mavis Fodness

How does one write a story with no happy ending?


As reporters, we routinely convey stories on a wide variety of topics. This week I’ve chosen to tell a high school classmate’s story.

However, this one doesn’t have a happy ending, but maybe you can help write a positive chapter in the story.

Doctors told Curt Thorson on Aug. 10 that the sharp abdominal pain he has suddenly begun to experience was the Stage IV pancreatic cancer spreading through his 56-year-old body.

There is no cure for Curt’s aggressive form of cancer and he’s already under palliative care. Doctors have given Curt and his family a timeline as to when the cancer will take Curt’s life, but they are determined to fight.

Within days of the diagnosis, a chemotherapy schedule was implemented and Curt received the first of potentially four chemo cycles on Aug. 21. That same day he suffered a blood clot, a painful, but not uncommon, cancer side effect.

Because timing is everything in a cancer fight, Curt postponed the blood clot treatment for several hours in order to complete the first chemo treatment. The treatment could mean more time can be spent at home.

Three days later Curt was home, surrounded by his wife of 26 years, Caroline, and their three sons, Dylan, Eric and Luke. Curt insists that his children carry on with their daily routines as a college senior, a worker at the local lumberyard and a high school junior prepping for the start of a new school year respectively.

He also insists that Caroline keep teaching local high school students as well as fulfilling her duties on the Luverne City Council during his cancer fight.

Curt says he is looking for blessings in each day as his family comes to terms with his diagnosis. They plan no trips — just sharing simple things like watching TV together.

They marvel at the outreach that living in a small community brings.

In a matter of days they received daily notes of support in their mailbox, thoughtful gestures are dropped regularly at their Luverne home, and within weeks friends have organized a fundraiser to lessen the Thorson family’s financial burdens.

That’s what we do when we know someone is hurting — we circle the wagons. We try to give Curt some “time.”

Time not to worry about paying the house mortgage.

Time not to worry about utilities, paying of medical deductibles or other fiscal responsibilities.

We just want to give the Thorson family time with fewer worries.

The Thorson Family Benefit is from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Take 16 on East Main Street in Luverne. Live music, food and a silent auction is planned to celebrate and support Curt and his family.

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