Eric Richard Erdman, 1lb 15oz, DOB 11/28/99
Eric Erdman, Tylor Erdman, Cole Erdmam
Children’s Hershey Hospital, July 12, 2016
“After 11 days of life, Kyle took his last breath on November 28. That same day, Eric was born, weighing just 1 pound, 15 ounces.”
Eric Erdman – 4lb 5oz, Tylor Erdman – Age 2
T.E.K CC Inc. Team Eric, Tylor, Cole Erdman, and Chris Zeigler
Eric Richard Erdman & PSU Brandon Bell, July 13, 2016
“The support they offer to one another is an inspiration and serves as the premise for which we are fighting this fight.”
As the youngest of six children, I always knew I someday wanted a family of my own. Nothing really prepares you for motherhood. You hear it described, but it’s not until you experience it that you realize there is truly no feeling more amazing. Nothing else in the world surpasses it.
It’s such a sacred gift to create a life, carry the child within you, feel the baby kick for the first time, and then finally hold him in your arms. The first time I felt my oldest — Tylor Michael Erdman — kick, it was like a really strong butterfly in my belly. Butterflies bring joy, and each one is unique in their own special way, just like each of my three boys.
A year after Tylor’s birth, I became pregnant with twins. Tylor was so excited about having two baby brothers. We went shopping, decorated the nursery, and picked out the names Kyle Ryan Erdman and Eric Richard Erdman. I had everything ready by the time I was 20 weeks pregnant, and was bursting with anticipation. When the two babies kicked for the first time, it was like an army of butterflies within me.
Then at week 20, I found myself in the hospital on complete bed rest, fighting for Kyle and Eric’s lives. At week 24, November 17, 1999, I went into labor and gave birth to Kyle, who weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces. The doctors prepared themselves to deliver Eric as well, but Eric decided he wasn’t quite ready. Kyle was very weak, but he fought every day. When he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, PA, the nurses wheeled me in nightly — with Eric still in my belly — to see Kyle. Unfortunately, his organs eventually failed and the bleeding in his brain was just too severe. After 11 days of life, Kyle took his last breath on November 28. That same day, Eric was born, weighing just 1 pound, 15 ounces.
No parent should ever have to experience the death of a child; it is true agony. How could I prepare myself to potentially lose Eric since he, too, had brain bleeding and underdeveloped lungs? All I knew was when you have a child, you fight for them — no matter what it takes. I now realize November 28, 1999, was also the day the T.E.K Foundation, CC Inc. truly started forming.
Eric spent 3.5 months fighting in the NICU, eventually coming home on oxygen and a monitor. He required these for the first two years of his life. He also underwent multiple hernia operations, airway reconstruction, childhood alopecia, and struggled with asthma until age 12. Eric fought his way into this world and recently, on July 8, 2016, he underwent brain surgery to have an Ependymoma anaplastic grade III childhood cancerous tumor removed at the age of 16. And so, he begins yet another fight to stay in this life he loves so very much.
As a result of the surgery, Eric was left with hearing and vision loss, coordination issues, difficulty eating, and constant headaches. The hospital sent Eric home so he would become strong enough to handle his scheduled radiation treatments. The worry and exhaustion from being at the hospital 24/7 and contemplating the road ahead showed on my face. Tylor looked at me and said, “Don’t worry Mom, Eric’s got this. I can help more this time. I’m older now — plus we have Cole and Chris.” Cole Erdman is my boys’ cousin, and Chris Zeigler might as well be related to our family. It’s a profound moment when you realize your little boy is now a man — a man so courageous, so fearless, and with so much love in his heart. I stood silent for a minute and just looked in awe at this family of mine.
Fourteen years ago, I earned the title of single parent when my ex-husband and I divorced. Living life as a single woman with two small children — one with extensive medical needs — had its challenges, yet I feel so incredibly lucky. We have found our way in this life with so much love to share. We managed to expand our little family with Cole and Chris, who have served as a tremendous support system for my sons. I am forever grateful for these two young men, and I now realize families come in all forms.
When I watch these four boys interact, I see a bond that will never break. The support they offer to one another is an inspiration and serves as the premise for which we are fighting this fight. NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!
The T.E.K. Foundation CC, Inc. is built on Eric Erdman’s proven strength, loyalty and integrity of brothers, the heart of four young men who have formed a bond to not be broken, and in loving memory of Tylor and Eric’s ‘s brother, Eric’s twin, Kyle Richard Erdman.