A Personal Request
I have a personal request to make in this writing. It concerns a very dear friend of mine who is in need at the present.
I first met Eric Arvin through the miracle of the internet when we were both dreaming of becoming professional writers. Eric was just finishing up his debut novel, The Rest Is Illusion, at that time and I was planning to start a web magazine to help out some of my writer friends who needed an outlet for their work. Eric's novel became very popular, beginning his now massive fan base, and my web magazine came to fruition as Web Digest Weekly, a venture that achieved my original hopes for it... and then some!
I finally got the chance to meet Eric in person in the fall of 2009. He and I took a trip together to Michigan to see a mutual friend, writer Salvatore Sapienza, who at the time owned a B&B with his partner Gregg Smith in Saugatuck. I drove from my home in Georgia to Eric's hometown in Indiana and the two of us then went on to Michigan together. We spent a wonderful weekend there, getting to know Sal and Gregg, and exploring the town. I got to see one of the Great Lakes for the first time during that trip. It was a great experience, cementing us in a life long friendship that has grown stronger with time.
Eric is sadly now dealing with some very difficult and frightening health issues and will need extremely risky surgery to have a chance at overcoming this crisis. Eric suffers from a condition known as "cavernous hemangioma." This is, quite simply, a benign growth in the brain in which a calcified mass displaces brain tissue as it grows. Eric has already had surgery for this condition once, back in 2005, and it left him with severe disabilities which he has dealt with through sheer determination and the will to lead a normal life.
Recently, Eric began experiencing difficulty breathing and was taken to the hospital where he had to be placed on a ventilator. Diagnostic evaluations have confirmed that a hemangioma around his brain stem, which was treated surgically eight years ago, has grown back and is now causing him the problems he is currently dealing with. His options are to have this very risky surgery in the hopes of again relieving his symptoms, to try and preserve Eric in his present state (with a tracheostomy and on a ventilator,) or to do nothing and allow the hemangioma to continue growing until he becomes quadriplegic and eventually succumbs to the disease.
Eric is a fighter. He has already overcome this condition once and has decided to have the surgery again. Eric is a very determined person and he doesn't shy away from challenges. Not even one as potentially lethal as this. Before his initial diagnosis and surgery a few years ago, he had moved to Australia and was planning a life there. The diagnosis forced him to return home to Indiana and his family to seek treatment. In the years since, he has not only regained much of his independence, but he has also become a successful, award winning novelist. Nothing stops him from attaining his goals. Eric confronts each and every obstacle he encounters with a firm resolve to come out on top of whatever it is he is facing. And so far, he has triumphed over everything.
A few months ago, Eric met the love of his life. He and author TJ Klune have not only fallen in love but they are planning to get married. They want to have a life together which will make them both very happy. They spent the summer together and made some plans for the future which they only recently put in motion, including moving to a new state, just prior to the return of Eric's health problems.
Many of our mutual friends have donated to a relief fund that has been established for Eric so that he and TJ will be able to handle the financial aspects of this tragedy. A lot of money has been raised but more will undoubtedly be needed, not only to cover the immediate costs of medical care but also for future rehabilitation treatment that Eric will almost certainly require once he is well enough to leave the hospital.
All of you who know me are aware that rarely ever do I ask for things like this, but if you can, please help Eric and TJ. A donation of even $5 or $10 is greatly appreciated. And keep Eric in your thoughts as he faces surgery in the coming week. He is a brave and courageous individual, a fantastic writer, and a good friend. In plainer terms, he is someone I love very much.
Here is the link to the crowd-funding site for Eric: