L.I.F.E. was founded on the idea to pay forward all the kindness that other people have shown us. When Eric was first diagnosed in 2003, we had countless friends, relatives, and even complete strangers offer to help us. People brought meals, helped with medical expenses, and shared countless prayers. Then one day we received a letter in the mail filled with coins from a young girl who had emptied her entire piggy bank for Eric’s cause. Since that day we have made sure every penny donated towards our cause is given directly to the people that need.
Unlike larger 501(c)(3) non profit organizations, L.I.F.E. has no significant overhead costs, no marketing budget, and no one collecting an income. We realized the charities we were raising money for had overhead expenses, advertising costs, and people collecting salaries. Sometimes it’s hosting blood drives, other times we’ve donated to research laboratories, and other times we’ve helped young adults with cancer between the ages of 18 and 30. We’ve found this population to be particularly vulnerable because typically they are no longer under the umbrella of their parents household. These people have just begun life in the real world, only to be hit with a major setback, with little or no means for support. We work with social workers at various national cancer centers across the country to help identify those vulnerable patients that especially need financial assistance. L.I.F.E. never expects anything in return, there are no strings attached to the help that is provided. We have always striven to help as many other young adults affected by cancer that we can in this manner.
The stories about the patients we’ve helped or events we’ve hosted are below.
|Nov 2016||Tyler T.||When we were contacted by Tyler’s social worker, she told us that “he doesn’t have any energy. Doesn’t run a lot, went fishing yesterday with his Dad. They travel to Tuscon every week and it’s a 4 hour trip. They are Tuesday night until Friday evening for the first week each cycle. Treatment starts Wednesday morning and it’s a full day, so they just stay there for the week. And then for weeks 1 and 2, they are just there for one day. They stay at the Ronald McDonald house when they go. Gas is about $100/week. Follow-up will be weekly for the first 1-2 months, and then every other week or once a month after that. She was SOO grateful that we offered to help. They are super strapped for cash. She’s applied to help from dozens of organizations over the last 2 months and hasn’t received a response from any of them, until ours. His Mom and Dad are separated so send the check to his Mom’s address in Taylor.” L.I.F.E. was able to help them with copays and travel expenses to help ease the financial burden.|
|Oct 2016||Jim W.||Jim Wwas diagnosed Oct 1 2014 at the age of 26 with Rhabdomyosarcoma. Jim has undergone 2 rounds of chemo, 4 major surgeries and is about to start a bone marrow transplant clinical trial the end of October. This is his last shot to truly disrupt the cycle of his cancer in hopes to beat this. Jim and his fiance Hanna just recently got engaged and will be needing to move to Milwaukee to undergo the trial. Your support will help pay to keep their place in Appleton while they are fighting this battle in Milwaukee for the next 3 months!|
|Sep 2016||Nathan B.||19 year old from New York with Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. Nathan resides with his mother and step-father. His mother is unable to work as she takes Nathan to his medical appointments and monitors his symptoms. As the family is living off one income, they are in need of financial assistance at this time.|
|June 2016||Gabriela R.||24 year old with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from Arizona.|
|May 2016||Johnsal C.||24 year old with a mediastinal germ cell tumor from Arizona. He was in college, but upon finding the tumor he had to quit school. Since the tumor is near his heart, it is not easily accessbile to surgery, and had to begin chemo immediately. Medical treatment and travel have been a large financial burden on the family, and they are no longer able to make ends meet to pay for basic things like utilities, gas, and meals.|
|Apr 2016||Elizabeth S.||27 year old wife and mother from Wisconsin with stage 1A Hodgkin’s lymphoma currently receiving chemotherapy and is struggling to provide for her family. In her own words, her “family is financially crumbling”. L.I.F.E. was able to help out with utilities, groceries, and transportation to some of her appointments.|
|Mar 2016||Gabriella M.||27 year old mother with Acute Myeloid Leukemia whose husband works in construction and takes on side jobs to help bring in extra money to help care for their 4 year old son. L.I.F.E. was able to help provide funds for gas and transportation to and from appointments.
|Mar 2016||Pedro C.||22 year old husband and father with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia who has had to be relocated away from his wife and 6 year old daughter to the bone marrow transplant unit for daily treatment. L.I.F.E. was able to help subsidize some of that housing, as well as some transportation costs.
|Feb 2016||Kathleen G.||20 year old mother from Arizona with osteosarcoma in her leg. Because of pregnancy, treatment and diagnosis was delayed, resulting in advanced disease and bone fracture. She has been forced to quit her job, and now has a newborn baby, as well as her 4 year old to care for.
|Feb 2016||Joey R.||22 year old nursing student from St. Louis, MO who relapsed with ALL for the 2nd time who needs help with hospital bills. He has fought this battle first when he was just 3 years old, going through 3 years of chemotherapy treatment which was successful at putting him into remission at age 6. Sadly, 12 years later he found out his cancer had returned. He fought another fight with cancer and underwent 2 years of very intense and harsh chemotherapy. Joey’s faith and endurance are truly an inspiration to us all. He strives through everything life has thrown his way.
|Feb 2016||Grant S.||30 year old from Wisconsin, stage 3 sarcoma, receiving intense radiation treatment, unable to work, and is in desperate need to fix his vehicle to get to and from appointments. Stay strong Grant!
|Jan 2016||Tracey F.||29 year old mother to a 1 year old son from Wisconsin with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, whose cancer treatment is making it impossible to support her son and keep up with the mortgage.
|Jan 2016||Megan L.||29 year old from Missouri battling breast cancer for the 2nd time. Her fiance was also recently laid off off of his job, and she is missing a lot of work due to treatment.
|Dec 2015||Leah J.||Leah is a 28 year old from Minnesota who was 32 weeks pregnant when she found out she had Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, which presents an extreme complication with needing to delay treatment. Leah now needs help with mortgage and utilities, and gas money.
|Nov 2015||William L.||25 year old from Minnesota with AML who desperately needs assistance with travel and lodging for treatment.
|Nov 2015||Allison N.||“I was diagnosed with CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukemia) on May 7th 2013. Being only twenty-five now, I have an extremely hard time, especially financially… I wanted to share a picture of my dentist and I today when I went in to get two of my four infected molars removed. None of this would be possible without Mary M McLean and the wonderful organization, L.I.F.E., that she has made in honor of her amazing son Eric! My dentist was more then happy to pose for a picture with me! Thanks you so very much, you have no idea how much it means to me!! ❤”|
|Oct 2015||Ashley B.|
|Sept 2015||Ashley M.|
|Sept 2015||Casey C.||On Thursday, September 10th, L.I.F.E. recipient Casey Clarksen underwent a major surgery removing a cancerous tumor next to his liver. The surgery was a success and he is on the road to recovery! We are excited to share such uplifting news for the Clarksen family as they prepare for the arrival of their new baby!|
|August 2015||Jordan R.||18 year old female that has been diagnosed with both chronic myeloid leukemia, and hodgkins lymphoma. Jordan needed help with gas and hotel stays. Her mom is currently on diability, she currently rents a vehicle to get to treatments, pays for all of our own expenses, and does not have any help from her father. We were able to help her with some of her transportation needs, and hope this helps in some small way. Get well Jordan!
|July 2015||Edgar C.||19 year old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who is battling not only the cancer, but a financial burden involving transportation for treatments. Edgar has relapsed twice and has already received one bone marrow transplant.|
|June 2015||Brandon F.||26 year old man from Oklahoma with stage II testicular cancer. He is being treated 4 hours away from home, struggling to find a job, and his girlfriend has 2 children.|
|May 2015||Tobben F.||27 year old male from Nevada with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, a very aggressive blood cancer, the same type that Eric had. The patient was unable to find a center to provide a stem cell transplant in his area, so has been forced to travel to Arizona. He must now stay there for 2 months with a full-time caregiver, which has been his wife, thus reducing their income to zero.|
|Apr 2015||Elizabeth B.||23 year old single mother from Missouri with Chondrosarcoma, a cancer of the bone, who already had to receive one amputation, who had difficulty affording gas and car payments to get to the treatment center.|
|Mar 2015||Elyse F.||30 year old woman from Arizona with undifferentiated leukemia – a very rare and acute form of blood cancer, and is also the mother of 18 month old triplets. She underwent a stem cell transplant earlier this year, which required daily visits to the hospital, but lives over an hour away. We were able to help her with an apartment near the cancer center so she could continue to receive treatment and stay with her family for that duration.|
|Feb 2015||Kayla T.||25 year old woman from Wisconsin with Hodgkin’s disease – a cancer of the white blood cells. She is currently unable to work and has 2 small children at home.|
|Jan 2015||Jim W.||26 year old man from Wisconsin battling Rhabdomyosarcoma (a cancer of connective tissues), who also unfortunately also lost his job.|
|October 2014||Alisha R.||21 year old from North Carolina with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Alisha strives to attend nursing school, but is already behind on medical bills and copays for insurance.|
|October 2014||Joshua G.||28 year old from Missouri with multiple myeloma. Josh is a middle school teacher, and recently had a benefit drive to help offset medical costs, but is still in great need of help.|
|Sept 2014||Amy M.||28 year old woman from Missouri with breast cancer who is unable to make payments on her medical bills or rent|
|Sept 2014||Kari P.||28 year old woman from Wisconsin with colon cancer. Kari recently had a large tumor surgically removed, will begin chemo soon, and needed help with medical bills.|
|Aug 2014||Jessica V.||27 year old from Wisconsin, another young adult battling acute myelogenous leukemia, the same type of cancer Eric had. Jessica had a transplant from an unrelated donor one year ago, and is experiencing graft vs. host disease. She has a 150 round trip commute 3 times per week for treatment. She also has 3 young children and is desperately short on funds for both gas and food.|
|July 2014||Richard A.||24 year old from Missouri with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Richard is 6’8″ and wears a size 17.5 shoe! He is unable to receive disability and will begin radiation soon without insurance. Traveling to appointments has been a major expense.|
|July 2014||Kayla C.||26 year old from Missouri with stage IV cancer of the tongue. LIFE was able to help Kayla with a few medical bills and transportation.|
|July 2014||Ryan S.||26 year old man from Wisconsin with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, the same type of cancer Eric had. When we were contacted about Ryan he was receiving induction chemotherapy and scheduled for a stem cell transplant. LIFE was able to provide some needed assistance with food and medical bills.|
|June 2014||Damarco L||A 27 year old self-described workaholic from Missouri with stage 4 lymphoma. He has already lost 40lb, lost all of his hair, and now needs to walk with cane. Nothing gets Damarco down though, he has been one of the most positive patients we have spoken with. LIFE was able to help him with some basic transportation and activities of daily living needs.|
|Apr 2014||Ashley S.|
|Apr 2014||Alison W||A 29 year old woman battling refractory Hodgkins Lymphoma|
|Mar 2014||Dallen A.||27 year old man from Oklahoma living with his family and struggling to find transportation to radiation treatments.|
|Mar 2014||Cassandra M||23 year old college student fighting breast cancer|
|Mar 2014||Jessica O.|
|Feb 2014||Katherine V||a 26-year-old nurse diagnosed with breast cancer on Jan 2, 2014|
|Jan 2014||Alyson P.||20 year old woman from Wisconsin with colon cancer who was referred to us by her social worker. Aly had a dream of attending a cancer camp called Camp Mak-A-Dream located in Montana, an 87 acre facility that provides medically-supervised, cost-free Montana experiences, in an intimate community setting, for children, young adults and families affected by cancer. Aly couldn’t afford the travel expenses to do so, so LIFE was able to help get her there! Check out the video she posted by clicking here.|
|Dec 2013||Wesley D.||25 year old from Illinois with grade 2/3 oligoastrocytoma, a cancer of the brain. Wesley has daily radiation appointments that are breaking the bank, which makes it hard to even buy diapers for his 5 month old daughter, much less pharmacy costs, deductibles etc. Thankfully, from the help from our supporters, we were able to ease some of this burden for Wesley and his family.|
|Dec 2013||Lisa M.||Lisa is a 28 year old mother from Missouri with triple negative breast cancer, who currently has no insurance after her husband switched jobs 1 month before her diagnosis. L.I.F.E. was able to help offset the costs of some of her medical and treatment expenses.|
|Dec 2013||Kraig T.||Kraig is a 29 year old from Missouri who has Grade 3 anaplastic oligodendroglioma in the left frontal cortex of the brain, and desperately needed help with medication copays each month.|
|Dec 2013||Robin P.||Robin is a wonderful 29 year old mother to her infant son at home, and was just diagnosed with Stage IIA classical Hodgkin Lymphoma last month.|
|Nov 2013||Mirela G.||24 year old from Missouri with Ewing Sarcoma needing financial assistance for medical bills|
|Oct 2013||LaShawn G.||25 year old from Missouri with an agressive osteoblastoma of the bone. As she is no longer able to move freely on her own, we were contacted by her social worker that they were in need of an electric lift to help get her in and out of bed. Medicaid would not cover its cost, and her caregivers are her mother and elderly grandmother. LIFE was able provide them with some added help for these basic requirements.|
|Sep 2013||Michael K.|
|Sep 2013||Daniel D.|
|Sep 2013||Richard “Russ” S.||29 year old from Florida with acute myeloid leukemia. russ has received a stem cell transplant, but unfortunately the blood type conversion has not been going as well as planned, so he is currently receiving plasma exchange treatment. Russ is an Ironman, and his father, Bill, ran across our site while searching the internet. Russ was going to medical school, and hopes to continue with the goal of becoming an oncologist. LIFE was able to help him out with assistance that was used for insurance copays, transportation, and other outpatient expenses during on-going bone marrow transplant recovery.|
|Sep 2013||Ray O|
|Sep 2013||McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research||The research team at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research has informed us that their paper is nearing publication into the Journal of Clinical Investigation! The study is being led by Associate Professor of Oncology, Dr. Jing Zhang. In October 2011, Eric and Mike McLean were able to visit with lab director Dr. James Shull and sit in Dr. Zhang’s lecture hall through one of her oncology courses prior to making LIFE’s first donation towards their research. 2 years later in September 2013, LIFE returned to make an additional donation to help keep it going. Professor Zhang has so kindly wrote a dedication to Eric that will be included in the paper!|
|Aug 2013||Sara N.|
|Aug 2013||Amanda T.||25 year old woman from Wisconsin with breast cancer. It all started when Amanda found in her breast this past summer, but did not have insurance. She is recently engaged to be married, and had engagement pictures taken before surgery. She worked very hard in school and was thrilled to get her dream job as an elementary school teacher, but is worried about her classroom when chemotherapy treatment begins. Amanda needed help from LIFE with medical and living expenses.|
|Aug 2013||Michael N.||28 and battling Gastrointestinal Stromal Sarcoma of the Stomach|
|July 2013||William M.||23 year old from Missouri with colon cancer and is almost finished up with his chemotherapy treatments. William lives at home with his family and needed help with medical payments|
|July 2013||Brianne H.||27 year old woman from Wisconsin with an immature teratoma in her stomach, which is a form of sarcoma and larger than the size of a football. LIFE was able to help provide Brianne assistance in obtaining insurance|
|July 2013||Jazmin R.||21 year old woman from Colorado with stage 4 chondro Sarcoma cancer who needed help with medical payments|
|July 2013||Jamie R.||30 year old from Wisconsin with invasive ductal carcinoma that has metastasized to her lymph nodes. Jamie is the mother of a 2 and 5 year old. LIFE was able to provide her some financial assistance with medical bills.|
|July 2013||Tasharo B.||30 year old woman from Missouri with Stage II triple negative Breast cancer behind on medical bills and rent|
|July 2013||Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher H.||A 26 year old man who battled grade 3 Oligoastrocytoma from Southern Illinois.|
|July 2013||Kandice A.||26 year old woman from Illinois with a husband and children, and battling Hodgkins Lymphoma. Eric’s brother Mike had the opportunity to meet her at the hospital for one of her treatments!|
|July 2013||Jessica M.||25 year old woman from Missouri with metastatic lung cancer needing help with travel costs, gas, and meals.|
|July 2013||Combat Medic Mike F.||22 year old army veteran battling colon cancer. We were able to help Mike out significantly with his living situation ad medical expenses, and send him to see his favorite rock band courtesy of the venue!|
|June 2013||Tracey B.||22 and battling Hodgkins Lymphoma.|
|May 2013||Lisa K||30 year old woman from Wisconsin with a rare, aggressive type of thyroid cancer called Hurthle Cell Cancer. She has had thyroid surgery, which unfortunatly caused damage to her vocal cords. She has a very hoarse voice, which makes it difficult for her to talk by telephone. She just began radiation therapy treatment. She has been on leave from her job because of her diagnosis, and is behind on medical bills.|
|Jan 2013||Emily T.||29 year old woman battling chronic myeloid leukemia from Dayton, MN.|
|Jan 2013||Monica C.||29 year old battling breast cancer from Neenah, WI.|
|Dec 2012||Katelyn R.||20 year old sweetheart battling Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia from Mansfield, Ohio. Her mother contacted us to let us know that Katelyn really needs our help – her vehicle is beyond repair, utility bills are high, and all extra help is coming from her mother. So we sent her some of the funds many of you have graciously donated to hopefully make things a little bit easier for them. Sadly Katelyn passed away on February 24, 2013.|
|Dec 2012||Katelyn C.||22 year old Psychiatric Nurses Aide from Virigina battling Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. We received the following message: “During February my husband and I have to move out of our apartment because I’m physically having so much trouble getting in and out of it. There is 21 stairs to get into it and out of it and I also have to park a good ways away because the parking lot fills up so fast. I physically cannot do the stairs anymore with my leukemia I have just become too weak some days. We have found another place that is perfect and we can move in at the end of February, the only issue is that we can’t pay the deposit until we get our tax refund money back which will more then likely be in March (that’s when we have gotten it back the past several years).” Well we took care of that security deposit and a little more! Kick that cancer’s butt Katelyn!!|
|Nov 2012||Gabe V||30 year old man from Wisconsin with multiple myeloma and a form of aplastic anemia. He will be having a bone marrow transplant later this month|
|Oct 2012||Jessica R.||We recently received the message from Daniel in New York, that his 30 year old wife Jessica discovered she had leukemia the same day her twin boy and girl were born last year. She has been battling since and it has been a struggle. This past week L.I.F.E. sent them some of the funds we have fundraised to maybe help make their lives just a little bit easier. Click here to read their story.|
|Aug 2012||Hector R.||30 year old male from California with stage IV carcinoma of the small intestine|
|May 29, 2012||Shawn R.||Lynn R., the mother of 22 year old from Weyer’s Cave, Virginia contacted L.I.F.E. for help. After being diagnosed in January 2011, Shawn’s leukemia has returned for the third time. After receiving treatment in his home state at a hospital in Virginia, they indicated they couldn’t go through with the transplant due to a fungal infection in his lung and he needed to seek another hospital. He was scheduled to undergo a BMT in the beginning of June if his bone marrow shows no sign of Leukemia. L.I.F.E. sent them funding to help pay for insurance co-pays, medication, and transportation to and from Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC.|
|May 12, 2012||D’Ann B.||L.I.F.E. sent hugs to , a 22 year old college student recently broke her back due to a cancerous tumor. On January 7, 2012, a spinal fusion surgery using 2 titanium rods and 8 screws was performed. On January 16, 2012, D’Ann was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Cancer (Blood Cancer) which is very rare in a young adult. Putting her life on hold to fight this cancer, she has started radiation treatments, then will need chemotherapy along with a bone marrow transplant or stem cell treatment. This has been a devastating time for her and her family after losing their sole income to a barn fire in November. The McLean Family came to her benefit and donated a large sum of money on behalf of L.I.F.E. to help her with medical costs.|
|Oct 24, 2011||McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research||Eric and Mike met with Dr. James Shull and Dr. Jing Zhang of the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research and donated $10,000 towards a leukemia research study on behalf of L.I.F.E. They received a super cool tour of the building, and Dr. Zhang invited them to attend her Oncology 703 course which they did! Click here to read the full article
|Dec 11, 2010||Bone Marrrow Transplant Unit at Froedtert Hopsital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Today was a big day for L.I.F.E. Eric attended the Celebration of Life party at the Bone Marrrow Transplant Unit at Froedtert Hopsital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the party, on behalf of the L.I.F.E. organization, he presented the Unit with a brand new stationary recumbent bicycle, some puzzles/games, and an additional $500 to be used for the patients in the unit. Click here to view more photos.
|Dec 2009||Matthew “Ross” Mongin||Matthew “Ross” Mongin of Hartland, surrounded by his family, passed away from brain cancer on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009 at Waukesha Memorial Hospital at the age of 36. Ross will be sadly missed by the love of his life, his wife, Jennifer, whom he married on August 25, 2001; his children, Andrew, Kaitlin and Madeleine. L.I.F.E. gave $500 to his family to help pay for his final hospital bills. Our hearts are with them during this difficult time.|
|2010||Ironman Wisconsin Janus Charity Challenge||Eric’s older brother Mike took 3rd place in the Janus Charity Challenge at the Ironman Wisconsin 2010 and received an additional $6,000 towards L.I.F.E. for his efforts. Eric’s story was highlighted as the focus charity story and was broadcast over statewide television.|
|2001-2008||Leukemia & Lymphoma Sociey||Over $35,000 has been donated over the years by L.I.F.E. to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Mike’s efforts in the Ironman.|
|2010||American Cancer Society||LIFE has set up a fundraising tent at Relay for Life in Two Rivers, WI and has made a presence at others around the state.
Click below to watch Eric’s Relay for Life speeches:
|2008-2010||UW Hospital & Clinics||Over 120 volunteer hours were donated by Eric’s older brother Mike at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Madison, WI to support adult inpatients and nursing staff.|
|2004||Scenic Lakeshore 150||The McLean Family set out to ride in the LLS Scenic Lakeshore 150 from Milwaukee to Door County and raised nearly $1,000 for research and patient care in the process.|
|2005||MACC Fund||The McLean Family set out to participate in this charity bicycle ride near Milwaukee, WI and were greeted by Tour de France Champion Greg Le Mond! Together they again raised nearly $1,000 for research and patient care.|
|2009-2016||Mama Goose 5k||http://mamagooserun.com/ – L.I.F.E. has helped to keep the Mama Goose 5k going each year by assisting with their website. It is a race created in honor of Margaret “Peggy” Giesfeldt (known as Mama Goose) by her son Matthew. Peggy unforunately lost her seven-and-a-half year battle with sarcoma while receiving treatment at the UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) in Madison, WI. Each year this race serves as a fundraiser to benefit the UWCCC. In 2012, Matt is hoping to win the Wisconsin Marathon while wearing his LIFE running singlet. He is truly an inspiration to us all.|