ERIC HARTWELL: "DEAR LORD, THANK YOU FOR TODAY..." April 7, 1995 - December 6, 2004
"To know Eric was to experience Eric."
For 9 ½ years, regardless of age, those around him enjoyed his natural ability to stand out. Far from shy, our little man's passion for fun, enthusiasm for life, and overwhelming devotion & love for his family and friends was more than inspirational. If he thought there was a chance to make you smile, he would.
Having just completed the 3rd Grade, Eric had the whole summer ahead of him. He'd already been enjoying fishing with his big brothers, Matt and Brian, playing with his best friends, and always asked his Mom and Dad to take him to Blockbuster to get another video game.
"I'm soooo bored!" usually let us all know that he was about to ask us to play a game with him.
Little did Eric or anyone else know that everything was about to change forever. In a matter of hours, a routine blood test that indicated Eric might have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), found him being admitted to C.S. Mott Children's hospital in Ann Arbor, MI to begin preparations for treatment. With survival rates of 85% we were all very optimistic.
However, Eric's inability to enter remission after his first chemotherapy treatment elevated concern. We soon learned Eric's challenge was far more unique. So much so, in fact, that his new diagnosis - T-Cell ALL complicated by Philadelphia Positive Chromosomes - made Eric the only child in North America diagnosed with this high risk cancer. Eric's prognosis changed from optimistic to poor with an estimated 10 - 20% chance of survival.
To this day, Eric's bravery in the face of a port placed into his chest, numerous spinal taps, fevers, infections, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, full body radiation and ultimately a bone marrow transplant - including acute GVHD of the skin (all within five short months) leaves us all with an overwhelming and profound lesson in humility and a lifelong desire to someday become even close to the person that Eric was and continues to be in spirit.
Eric believed in God. Even at his young age he was willing and wanted to pray with us at the end of each day. While being treated, we came up with our own short little prayer . . . "Dear Lord, thank You for today and we pray for a better day tomorrow. Amen."
May God bless you, Eric. We love you, miss you, and promise to help as many of the other children as we can.
"... AND WE PRAY FOR A BETTER DAY TOMORROW. AMEN."
THE ERIC HARTWELL FOUNDATION .. 3154 SKYVIEW CT. BRIGHTON. MI 48114 .. 734.780.5854 .. MIKE@ERICHARTWELLFOUNDATION.COM