TOWN OF TWO RIVERS - The movie "TheBucket List" came out about two years ago. In it, thecharacters make a list of things they want to do before they "kickthe bucket," so to speak. Now, a cancer patient from from theLakeshore has made his list - and is fulfilling it.
Eric McLean has been pretty busy these days. Sunday, he threwout the first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers game. Just last weekhe jumped out of a plane with SkyDive Adventure, which provided himwith video of the event.
"A lot's been going through my mind," said Eric beforeskydiving, "I wanted to do this for a long time, and I've got goodreasons to do it this time."
Those good reasons include quality time with people he loves,because Eric doesn't know how much longer he'll have theopportunity to do things like drive a Dodge Viper.
The fun things Eric's been doing these last few days, are all onhis bucket list.
"I think that's what it's all about, just hitting it strong andnot looking back," said Eric.
Eric is hitting life strong because he has been hit with acutemyelogenous leukemia for the third time. Eric says he and hisdoctors can't say when the leukemia will progress.
"The cells replicate at a pretty fast rate of speed and thefirst few times I was diagnosed it all happened within weeks, maybea month," said Eric.
Eric was first diagnosed six years ago, when he was 18, and gota stem cell transplant from his older brother Mike. A few yearslater, he relapsed, and got a stem cell transplant from his youngersister Lindsey. And just ten days ago, Eric's mother Mary wasexpecting a call to wish her a happy birthday, but got devastatingnews instead.
"I told him right there and then, I said I brought you into thisworld and I'm not letting you go without a fight," said MaryMcLean. "We're going to give it our best, give it everything wehave. If he doesn't have that long to be here, we're going to makewhatever he has left happy. And there's going to be a time whenthose smiles won't be there, but at least we know that we've madethe memories that we can."
Eric's doctors told him they could start chemotherapy rightaway, and perhaps prolong his life, or enjoy life now, and starttreatment when he starts showing more symptoms. For now, he'sworking on his bucket list.
"Eric's a pretty unique person," said Eric's brother MikeMcLean, "He doesn't seem fazed by it. It's just another obstacle,just the way he communicates and speaks, he's supposed to look upto me, it's the other way around."
When Eric isn't checking things off his bucket list, he spendstime relaxing in the family garden.
"Trying just to live life to the fullest is real cliché butthat kind of encompasses all of it, just sitting out here andlistening to the water and the birds. (A) typical person might justbe like, 'oh cool,' but it's just so much more beautiful to me. Idon't know, I wish I could explain it."
Whatever his future holds, Eric McLean, is facing it headon.
"I'm not just going to sit down and let this run its course anddo what it wants to do without me putting up some kind of fight orenjoying life as much as I can while I can," said Eric.
Eric says he will start chemotherapy when he shows more symptomsof leukemia. He is grateful for all the help he's getting checkingthings off his list, often from complete strangers.
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