Eric Erdman is no average 17-year-old boy. His life had a rough start. After a complicated birth, weighing 1lb 15oz., Eric spent 3.5 months in the NICU fighting for his life. Eric was born 11 days after his twin brother Kyle; the day Eric was born Kyle unfortunately passed away.
Eric’s childhood and early teens were filled with hospital visits and missed school days. He underwent multiple hernia operations, airway reconstruction, childhood alopecia, and struggled with asthma until age 12. He also had developmental delays and was pulled out of classes on a regular basis for extra assistance. This was hard for Eric, especially due to the perception and opinion of his peers and it shaped his life and personality, making him more shy and introverted.
Unfortunately, life did not get easier for Eric. On July 8, 2016, at the age of 16, Eric was diagnosed with an Ependymoma Anaplastic Grade III Tumor, a rare form of brain cancer. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor, which left him with hearing and vision loss, coordination issues, difficulty eating, and constant headaches. As the months passed Eric’s hearing and vision improved however on June 13, 2017 he underwent a second brain surgery due to the reoccurrence of the tumor. Currently Eric is healing from his second surgery and is getting ready to begin radiation for the second time. Unfortunately a tumor of this type is very difficult to disrupt the cell formation of it, therefore at this time Eric’s future maybe nothing short of difficult. Following this round of radiation we will move all our focus to clinical trials, in the hopes we find a clinical trial that will work. We were awaiting the results of one clinical trial however we just learned Eric is not a candidate due to not possessing a particular gene in his white blood cells. Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans.
A cancer diagnosis can make even the strongest people give up. For Eric, it became an invitation to participate in life. With overwhelming help and support from his local community Eric came out of his shell and found his voice to tell his full story. Thanks to the love and support from those around him, Eric learned that no one should fight their battles alone and how important it is to have a voice, and thus his T.E.K Foundation CC, Inc. was born.
T.E.K Foundation CC, Inc., d.b.a. as Give a Child a Voice, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to encouraging and influencing positive change in children’s lives throughout communities across the United States, to transform the unfortunate circumstances children face. Being a victim of child abuse, bullying, and now a life-threatening illness, Eric puts all efforts into helping other children who have experienced or are experiencing similar circumstances to find their voice and share their story. Eric wants children to know they matter and their story is important.
With a transformed perspective on life, when Eric was fortunate enough to be granted a wish from the Make a Wish Foundation, Eric was inspired to pay it forward. Without hesitation, he knew he wanted to give back with his wish. Eric decided to refurbish his high schools weight room to give his peers a place to be inspired daily, so they too may have the confidence to always have a voice.
The soon to be newly refurbished Millersburg High School Gym will be a place which will represent a child finding his voice due to the amazing acts of kindness by a wonderful community and the unbelievable character of an amazing young man. Today, Eric is focusing on beating cancer and working very hard on his foundation in the effort to create a movement, to Give a Child a Voice, Eric believes together positive change is possible.
Continue to Eric’s wish page to read more about Eric’s wish and to see how the project is coming.