Local Man Fights Cancer While Helping Others

From NBC Today's TMJ4 Milwaukee

By Jay Olstad

MILWAUKEE - Over the last few years, Eric McLean has been on one heck of a roller coaster ride.

"Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, you name it," said McLean.

He's faced death more times than he cares to count, the first in 2003 when he was diagnosed with Leukemia.

He caught our attention in 2009 when he threw out the first pitch at Miller Park and went skydiving. It was all part of a bucket list he was compiling after the Leukemia he had beaten twice before had returned. Doctors gave him only months to live.

"The emotional roller coaster is crazy," said McLean.

But then an interesting thing happened. Several months later, the experimental cocktail of drugs he was on worked, sending him into remission for a third time.

"You never get used to really hearing you've got cancer. And when of course they told me that again for the fourth time, it was a shock," he said.

In January, his doctor told him his cancer had returned for a fourth time.

"I think he was crying more than I was," McLean said of his doctor.

The outlook was not good. And he was just about to take a big step in his life.

"You got to be kidding me, especially now that I'm getting married," he said.

July 16th, Eric plans to get married to his long time love, Cari. It's a day he predicts will be the greatest day of his life.

"I can not wait. She is the woman of my dreams," he said.

Which is why Eric is fighting so hard this fourth time around.

And now just four months after hearing this insidious disease was back terrorizing his body, news came just days before this interview, he's in remission once again.

"It's unbelievable. It's truly unbelievable," she said.

What changed? A new treatment where doctors took his sister's stem cells and flooded them into his body, wiping out any signs of Leukemia.

So his roller coaster ride may be leveling out, proving it ain't over until it's over.

And if the Energizer Bunny ever decides to hang it up, we may have found a replacement in Eric McLean.

"You don't really have another option expect put one foot in front of the other and keep moving," he said.

Eric has raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research through his website. You can find the link below.

www.givetolife.org

Quote

  • The reason that these years have been the best is that I think that I might have had a somewhat positive impact on your lives and perhaps your understanding of what cancer is and what it can do, to both those of us that it has personally attacked and those of us who know someone who is going through it. -Eric McLean
  • I just want children to be left with a better life than what I was left with," he said. "I want them to experience the feeling I had in my life when I realized that I really mattered.
    ~ Larry Hisle
  • Realistically, I have two more Olympic cycles in me. I'm not going to let this beat me.  I've gained a lot of strength from you guys, if Eric can fight 5 times over I can overcome this one year of setbacks.
    ~ Chris Solinsky
  • Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men. ~ Albert Einstein
  • Never, never, never give up.
    ~ Winston Churchill
  • I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me! ~ Dr. Seuss
  • Once you choose hope, anything's possible.
    ~ Christopher Reeve
  • If you're going through hell, keep going.
    ~ Winston Churchill