In the summer of 2009, doctors at Froedtert Hospital discovered Eric’s leukemia had relapsed for the 2nd time on June 5, 2009, the same day as his mother’s birthday. The doctors caught the relapse very early in the process, and Eric was seemingly otherwise very healthy. Lurking in his blood though, were cancer cells dividing rapidly. He was given just 2 months to live. He began to chronicle his experiences through video blogs that he called “Eric’s Confessions”. He also quickly put together a “bucket list”, a list of things he wanted to do with the time he had left. Within a week of diagnosis he was already jumping out of airplanes, racing cars, and heading to Vegas. Through the selfless generosity of others, Eric was able to check many things off of his list before he was hospitalized one month later on July 13, 2009. Miraculously, after an experimental drug regimen that the majority said would never work, Eric was brought back into remission from AML for the 3rd time in the last 7 years. Eric would go on to relapse 8 total times, battling 9 different bouts of cancer. Unfortunately, Eric did not survive and passed away on his older brother’s 30th birthday, 8/23/2012.
Below are all of the things he was able to do, and the things he wanted but never had a chance to do.
Bucket List #1 – Skydiving…check!
Bucket List #2 – Dodge Viper…check!
Bucket List #3 – Opening Pitch at Brewers game…check!
Bucket List #4 – Las Vegas
Bucket List #5 – Drive a NASCAR
Bucket List #6 – Swim with Dolphins
Bucket List #7 – Hot Air Balloon
Bucket List #8 – Ride in a Powered Parachute
Bucket List #9 – Meet The Offspring
Bucket List #10 – Vacation with Family
Bucket List #11 – Fishing on Lake Michigan
Bucket List #12 – Meet the Milwaukee Brewers
Bucket List #13 – Shoot Big Guns
Bucket List #14 – New York
Bucket List #15 – Meet the Green Bay Packers
Bucket List #16 – Get Married!
Here are the things Eric unfortunately never got to check off his list.
Get as many people as I can to sign up on the bone marrow registry
Since this is an ongoing, never-ending mission, this one will never technically be “checked off”. Go to https://join.bethematch.org. A simple blood donation can save a life!
Purchase a high end Batman costume, start up my Batmanesque Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special (flat black), wear said costume, ride off into the sunset…or at least until I get pulled over by law enforcement.
One of Eric’s dreams has always been to visit Australia.
Get a tattoo
Eric was always pondering over ideas what he and his siblings could all get, any ideas? Some thoughts that we have tried incorporating include the Celtic Circle of LIFE, the Greek (from Eric’s Mom’s side) letters of the first initials of Eric and all of his siblings, or the Scottish (from his Dad’s side) McLean family crest.
Ride my Harley up the California coast
Ride all of the way up Hwy 1 stopping to see every beautiful sight along the way.
Go to Italy and Greece
Eric’s maternal grandmother immigrated from Athens, Greece, and he always wanted to visit there. With Italy being so close, why not see both in the same trip?
Fly as a passenger in a fighter jet
“I’d love to pull as many G forces as possible!” Several people approached Eric about this while he was still alive, but unfortunately it was never medically safe for him to do so.
Write a book
Eric said, “I would absolutely love to write a book, but have absolutely no idea where to start. I am looking for a co-author that has a passion for cancer survivorship and one that would be willing to take on such a project.” If anyone is interested in helping with this, please contact us at email@example.com.
Eric always had a strong desire to learn how to surf. He’s spent plenty of time on his snowboard during the cold winters of Wisconsin but had always dreamed of riding the waves of the Pacific.