“Where’s my heart”: how two DHS alumni shared the hunt of their lives
The Outdoor Adventure Foundation is a Fargo-based charity. They organize trips for young people with cancer and other illnesses, as well as injured veterans.
Kostelecty’s battle with cancer began in the spring of 2013 when he was 15, a freshman at DHS. He first noticed his symptoms while helping his father during calving season at their ranch in Grassy Butte, where he still spends most of his time working.
âThe farm and the ranch is where my heart is,â Kostelecty said. âOne day I had a cow that I had to put in the barn. She had just had her calf, so I had to pick up the calf and had a really big cramp in my right shoulder. ”
Kostelecty swept it aside as a typical pain that sometimes results from manual labor, but the pain persisted for three weeks. His chiropractor recommended that he see a doctor, which he did.
âRight here at Dickinson, I learned that I have a softball-sized lump inside my liver, and that was all they told me so far. I was saying to myself, what are the options? âhe recalled.
However, local doctors were unable to diagnose the problem, and she was advised to seek more attention at one of the area’s top-level medical centers. He told his parents about it and made an appointment the following month in Rochester, Minnesota.
âSo I’m just living life and everything. One night I decided to go to a high school baseball game here in town on a spring evening, it was pretty cold. I was cold to the bones, like borderline hypothermia. It just didn’t make sense how cold I was from the weather, âKostelecky said. âThe next morning mom and dad looked at me like, ‘There’s something really wrong with you.’ My eyes were sunken, I looked like hell had frozen over.
Her parents decided to take her to Rochester immediately, which was even more complicated as the town was covered with 18 inches of snow the next morning. After a week of various tests, scans and exams, she was diagnosed with germ cell testicular cancer. Kostelecty underwent three cycles of chemotherapy in the summer of 2013.
âIt’s cancer that spreads and grows quickly, which is not ideal,â he said.
He had a few strenuous surgeries in which more than half of his liver, 42 lymph nodes and eight spots in his lungs were removed. This form of cancer has a high rate of recurrence, so he underwent two cycles of preventive chemotherapy. Kostelesky said he feels lucky.
âWe caught it on the brink if it got to anything much worseâ¦ so I’m grateful for it,â he said, adding that he hadn’t had cancer for eight years. âIn the spring of 2014, they told me I was sober. I am healthy again. It was around this time that I joined the Outdoor Adventure Foundation, and I’ve been living my life ever since. It was good.”
Kostelecty received overwhelming support from the entire community during this difficult time, he said.
âIn many ways it was a blessing thanks to Dickinson’s support. I will never be able to refund or say what really should be said about it, âhe said. “Dickinson is just a great community.”
Logan Kostelecty with the mountain lion he shot on a December hunt through the Outdoor Adventure Foundation in Utah. (Contribution / Outdoor Adventure Foundation)
An avid outdoorsman, the foundation took him antelope hunting near Bowman, mule deer hunting in Montana, and moose hunting outside of Minot. Kostelecty fulfilled all three tags. He even recently shot down a mountain lion while on a foundation hunt in Utah.
âI met the president of the foundation, Brian Solum, and cameraman Dave Lipp. I just hit it off with these guys, âhe said.
Giving Back in the Badlands
After getting to know the foundation members well, Kostelecky and his father decided they wanted to give back by organizing elk hunts on their ranch for young people who have battled cancer and other serious illnesses. He said their neighbors were generous and gave him access to their land for foundation hunts.
This fall was the seventh year they had done so and they harvested an elk every time. Yet he said it was more than just murder. He enjoys giving people the thrill of a big game chase and a challenging outdoor experience. There is nothing like passing on the joy of your passion to someone else, he said.
âThe hunt, the success is great and all; but just to get out in the Badlands, breathe the fresh air and enjoy it – that’s really what it is, âhe said. âIt’s the hunt that I look forward to the most every year.
He said there weren’t enough young people to experience the outdoors and he is happy to have this opportunity thanks to such a great foundation.
Dickinson’s Lauren Jorda poses with the momentum she shot. (Contribution / Outdoor Adventure Foundation)
In the fall of 2021, the foundation hunt he led was especially special as it was with family friend and DHS alumnus Lauren Jorda. She endured a six-month struggle during her senior year of high school, with several cycles of chemotherapy and surgery. She was declared cancer-free in March 2019.
âI was the best friend of his younger sister (Kostelecky) Emily for about the first year, we’re still good friends,â Jorda said. “We all spent time together so I know their family very well.”
Now, at age 21, Jorda is a student at the University of North Dakota, where she is majoring in pre-medical biology to prepare for medical school.
Prior to elk hunting, Jorda had minimal bird hunting and target shooting experience. But after hunting with Kostelecty, Jorda said it calmed her to be guided by someone she knew.
The first night of the hunt, they didn’t see much but woke up at 4 am to leave the next day. Kostelecty said they traveled about a mile while it was still dark.
âSo we start to go down that hill. About halfway, it’s dry because it’s October and there hadn’t been any rain yet. Each step we take creaks sticks, leaves creak. And it is impossible to be silent, âhe said. âSoon the sun starts to rise a bit and moose are exploding around us. There is a bugle all over the place. And we’re basically in the middle of the herd, you can hear their footprints. I think they heard ours but didn’t really know what we were.
They walked for about 20 minutes in a direction he thought was giving a bull a good kick, which was with a group of five or six cows that scared the west. The bull ran in the opposite direction, missing their opportunity.
âSo I stay up, wow, that could have been our opportunity for the morning,â he said. “Lauren pats me on the shoulder, (and says) ‘Hey, there’s a moose right there.'”
It was a cow about 250 yards in front of them, and he expected a bull to follow it. They therefore moved from 15 to 20 meters to put themselves in a better position. He told Lauren that he would hit his cow call to stop the bull from standing next to it, and that he would tell her to shoot when she was ready. He used his call several times to no avail.
âHe didn’t stop for us. All of a sudden Lauren pulls and it totally caught me off guard, but I heard a loud bang. I knew she had hit him, âKostelecty said. âThis bull is running through the trees. I put my binoculars on him and very quickly I see that he has hit very well. She made a brilliant move.
Jorda said it was a wonderful experience and a lot of fun.
âI just want to express how grateful I am. The foundation, all those who helped set it up, the donors, the Kostelecty family, those who let me hunt on their land and everything; I know it wouldn’t be possible without them, âshe added.