September 29th, 2007 was a very normal Saturday for me as my biggest worry at the time was the fact that our football team had just gotten our butts kicked the night before. Two days later I decided to finally go see a doctor after fighting what I thought was a sinus infection for several weeks. My blood pressure was 225/130 and my blood counts were not right, my doctor knew something was wrong and ordered scans for that same day. That evening, I was being told that I had stage III Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer, just ten days after my 18th birthday and midway through football season of my senior year in high school. I was devastated and it took me a few weeks to fully grasp what exactly it was going to take for me to win this 2 year fight for my life. My chemo protocol consisted of weekly IV injections, daily chemo pills, and 24 total spinal taps. My routine was to get poisoned on Fridays and spend the next 5 to 6 days recovering just in time for my next weekly dose of poison. It is not possible to write in words the level of pain I felt not just physically but emotionally being an 18 year old kid who should be getting ready to go off to college and gain indepedence but instead had to depend on my parents and friends for everything I did.
The saddest part of my journey was that no matter how bad I thought I had it, I would go down to Riley Hospital and meet 5 other kids who had it much worse than I did. As time went on, this sadness turned into pure anger for me as these kids became close to me and they weren't getting better like I was. Cancer had personally picked a fight with me and I wanted to fight back with the "you picked a fight with the wrong person" mentality. I wasn't just satisfied with my personal defeat over cancer and I wanted to reach out to the other kids who were still in hospital beds hooked up to IV poles with chemo. A family friend wanted to make a generous donation to Riley Hospital in my honor and I asked him if we could instead take the money and create an fund there. After discussing it we all agreed that it was a great idea because we were doing our part in fighting back. We scheduled a meeting with the foundation committee at Riley on the day that I had surgery to get my port removed from my chest. I told the comittee what I wanted to do and they were all touched but told me that I must have at least $100,000 to begin an endowed fund there. I may still have been a little whoozy from the surgery but I immediately replied to them that if $100,000 is what it takes then I would be back there shortly with $100,000 to get my foundation started. I could tell from the reaction on their faces that they were truly touched but I sensed a little bit of doubt in them and that really drove me to succeed. I got home that night and told my Dad that we had work to do! We began meeting with business owners and other people all over the state of Indiana. Just six weeks later we had nearly $150,000 in pledged money and were ready to launch The Eric Metz 'Win This Battle!' Fund at Riley Children's Foundation! Ever since we began raising money we have had incredible success and have been witnesses to the incredible generousity of so many people in our community and even all over the Midwest. We have now raised over $263,000 for the fund to help current and future RileyKids fight cancer! But we will not stop fighting until the cure rates reach 100% for all cancers.
This year I wanted to raise money for my foundation in a different way. Two and a half years ago I was too weak to walk up the stairs in my own house to my bedroom. I was lucky enough to beat cancer and eventually gain all of my strength back. Unfortunately, there are many other kids who I personally know that are not as lucky as I am today. Some continue their daily battles; others have succumbed to this insidious diseases. Running has always been something that I have hated. I love to get physcial activity in many ways but running has never been one of them. But what better way to show that cancer can be beat than by running a half marathon (13.1 miles) in the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis on November 6 this year! So that is exactly what I am going to do; and I am going to do it with my dad and brothers and anyone else who wants to join Team Metz as a runner, walker, associate member or a sponosr. My mom and sisters are going to participate as team members by doing the 5k race that same day.
I would like for you to join me in this event to continue our fight for the RileyKids.
I am not running this mini marathon because I enjoy running. I am running for all of the kids who are at Riley Hospital receiving chemo right now instead of playing outside and enjoying summer like all other kids. I am running in honor of Stephen Janssen who recently relapsed and will be rooting me on from his hospital bed. I am running in honor of John Romine and Michael Treinen who both showed me how to fight cancer with courage before their lives' were prematurly and unfairly taken by cancer. But most importantly, I am running because I can and they no longer can; but I know they would want me to do this.
Won't you please make a donation to help me help the RileyKids? You can make a donation of any amount right here on this site. I would also like to have you join Team Metz. Got to my Facebook page...Eric Metz Fund; or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also learn more about the Fund at www.ericmetzwinthisbattle.org.
Thank you on behalf of all the RileyKids you are helping with your support...I know from personal experience how much it means to them!