MILLERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Eric Erdman is a 20-year-old battling brain cancer who has only two months to live. He’s spending his final days helping others.
Eric is the only person in the U.S. to reach stage 4 of a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Before his diagnosis, he went through child abuse and bullying. Through all his battles, he focuses on helping others.
He created a nonprofit, Give a Child a Voice, to help children in similar situations. He’s running out of time on his final project and needs your help.
Eric loves video games and giving his mom a hard time. “I tried to do these with them,” Eric’s mom Rita said, “but they wouldn’t let me!””No, no, we did let her!” Eric said. He started laughing “She just wasn’t that great! So…” The mother and son love to laugh and joke now because soon they’ll have to say goodbye forever.
“We haven’t figured that part out yet,” Rita said as her eyes welled up. “We’re just taking it one day at a time, but it is hard. I mean, hospice is here now. It’s just hard”.
“Growing up, my mom always said to pay it forward,” Eric said. “Pay it forward, whatever it takes. She was my inspiration and she always will be.”
ABC27 News first introduced you to Eric in August. He was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma at age 16. Brain cancer attacked his stem cell and nervous system. He underwent 61 sessions of radiation; most cancer patients go through one or two. Since we spoke in August, his health has deteriorated.
“So, physically my walking has gotten worse,” he said. “My memory is getting worse, my speech is getting really bad.” He has two months to live.”I’m fine with it,” he said. “I knew from the start that I was going to be at this point.”
“With everything that the foundation that my mom, brother and myself created, I think my life is complete.” His nonprofit foundation is personal. “It’s what I went through on a major scale,” he said. “I went through bullying, child abuse and now cancer, a life-threatening illness. “
Although it’s harder for Eric to speak, his passion is helping kids in tough circumstances break their silence. He’s personally mentored hundreds of struggling kids and teens. His only regret is not being able to help more.
“There was this one kid being bullied, and…” Eric looked away and began to cry. After collecting his thoughts, he continued through tears. “His mom reached out to me because he thought about killing himself. When you find out that you didn’t help enough, that’s when it hurts.”
No matter how bad the situation, Eric doesn’t understand how someone could give up. During his toughest times, he found strength at the gym. “I want children or someone to finally find their courage like how I did with the gyms, and to finally speak out about their unfortunate circumstances.” Eric has two dying wishes.
“First, I would love to see Ellen Degeneres. I think she and I are the same types of people.” He needs help to make the other wish come true: building another gym. So far, they’ve created two. “For our third gym, the main thing we need is more sponsors, more sponsors, and more sponsors.”
Eric’s final words: do something worthwhile with your life. “Each year you get 365 blank pages to rewrite your story,” he said. “Sadly, I think my pages are running out, but that’s okay. I don’t think life is measured on how long you live. I think it’s measured on what you do with your life while you’re here and how you can help people.”
Eric is in the final chapter of his story and is asking for you to consider donating a few dollars to help him sponsor that last gym. To donate or learn more about Eric and Give a Child a Voice, click here.