Bucket List Guy: A story of love and survival


By Mike Jacobs, Stephanie Graham

CREATED FEB. 14, 2012 - UPDATED: FEB. 14, 2012
PORT WASHINGTON - On this Valentine's Day--a story about love against all odds. We revisit Eric McLean -- a Port Washington man we fondly refer to as 'The Bucket List Guy', Eric is now also a newlywed!

Eric and his wife Cari look like any newlywed couple, but their story is anything but ordinary.

"I've had cancer 5 times," Eric explains.

We first met Eric in 2009, when he was given only months to live, and created a bucket list. He even went sky-diving!

Today, Eric's adventures are much more domestic. "Cookin dinner, and takin out the trash," he laughs.

Eric and Cari started dating 3 years ago, but have known each other since they were teens. Cari admits, "Opposites attract!"

Eric adds, "We have nothing in common."

Then... another roadblock for Eric.

"He relapsed a third time, and he actually told me I could walk away and he would be fine with it. I didn't want to," Cari says.

They got married last July. Eric then relapsed again, on their honeymoon, and went into treatment as soon as they got home.

The good news--Eric is now in remission! He is ready for whatever comes next--thanks to the love of his wife.

"I just try top make things seem as normal as possible," Cari explains.

Eric adds, "There are almost no words to describe the feelings I have for her, it's really tough."


  • 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