(FOX 9) - From the outside, it seems like life couldn’t be any better for Bloomington, Minnesota native Tom Kurvers as he spends a glorious summer day up north teeing it up with his two boys.
He also is back working in his home state in the front office of the Minnesota Wild. He was named the acting general manager late last month. Before that he was the assistant general manager.
Life was great until he got the call.
“I wasn’t expecting anything more than maybe a confirmation that possibly I had pneumonia,” said Kurvers. “I have been dealing with symptoms for quite some time and his first words to me were, ‘Tom I’ve got some bad news for you.’ And you just kind of lost track of things there, so I handed the phone over to [my wife] Heather and she just took it from there.”
Kurvers explains the first month dealing with the diagnosis took its toll mentally and physically.
“The first month really between the news and absorbing the news and then the invasive biopsies that were needed to ascertain what I was dealing with and then you’ve got to heal from that – that first month was really rugged,” he explained.
Those biopsies revealed that Kurvers was dealing with Stage 3 lung cancer. It was a devastating diagnosis considering that he had never touched a cigarette in his life.
Now, he found himself having to stare down cancer again. After a six-year battle with cancer, his mother passed away in January 2018. Just a year later, he received his diagnosis.
“So you watch it and you think you’re close to it and you think you understand...But it’s tough,” he said.
Aiding him in his battle is his hockey background. The effort it took to lead University of Minnesota-Duluth to their first-ever national championship game and later to etch his name on the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens is something that he will lean on. But, he said it’s not the good times that will carry him the most.
“You lose big games, you get cut from teams, you get run down by your coach in front of your 20 teammates, you have to deal with that and you have to get up the next morning and dust yourself off and carry on,” he said. “So it does prepare you fairly well to take on this challenge, and you just carry that with you and it gives you a chance to fight it as well as you can."
Now, Kurvers is ready to fight for others by embarking on a 10K fundraiser this weekend for the A Breath of Hope Foundation with his family and friends. He nicknamed the group Team Kurvers.
“I think for me, I’m participating, I’m doing it,” said Kurver. “I feel really good about that and for my friends that have backed us in this effort – those are real good friends and I owe them one.”
To donate to his team, click here.