Eric Erdman chose to spend his last days giving troubled children a voice and a platform to express themselves. He had a hard life, and he doesn’t want other kids to go through what he did. Through illnesses, bullying, and social rejection, Erdman found a calling, and he’s determined to keep fighting for it as long as he breathes.
Erdman has had a hard life from the very start. Growing up, he experienced some learning challenges, so kids at school began to bully him. He also told Good Morning America that he was a victim of child abuse. When he turned 16, Erdman was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma: cancer in the brain. He is currently 19 years-old, and he was told he only has a few months to live.
Giving a voice to others, particularly children, has become the primary focus of Erdman's life. It's what he has set his sights on in the last days of his life, despite four brain surgeries, three rounds of radiation and a half-cycle of chemo. https://t.co/vFtJ7iGoPY— ABC News (@ABC) September 7, 2019
Instead of spending his final days travelling or fulfilling a personal bucket list, Erdman decided to start a foundation for kids like him. He know show hard it was to go through both physical and emotional pain: he has had four brain surgeries, three rounds of radiation, and encountered many bullies. So to help kids like him, two years ago, he created the Give a Child a Voice foundation. It’s dedicated to encouraging kids to speak out when faced with difficult circumstances.
The three pillars of the foundation are bullying, child abuse, and life-threatening childhood illnesses. Through community programs and partnerships with educators, the organization aims to help troubled kids feel safe and heard, especially if they’re shier than most. Their mantra is “break the silence,” something that Erdman wished he did sooner when he was going through abuse and bullying.
The foundation also aims to create safe spaces for these kids, just like their founder. Erdman used his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to build gyms in both his and his rival school. Working out gave him the escape he needed from his reality, and it gave him the confidence to finally tell his family about what he was going through. He doesn’t want any kid to suffer alone, so he wants kids to have these spaces where they can feel safe. Erdman has given and continues to give so much love out to the world; certainly more than many who have lived for twice the amount of time he has.