You guys have met Erick Riedell through some of my photos already.
And I’ve recounted some of his health battles with you guys too. He’s been fighting cancer on and off (though it seems more on than off) for over six years; a little longer than the entire time I’ve been with Geoff. Geoff and Erick have been good friends since highschool, a friendship I’m impressed they maintained even though they live in different parts of the country. They kept it up through different romantic relationships, different places they lived, health problems, marriages, children… they’re still there for each other. Their friendship is inspiring.
This year has been especially difficult for Erick, his wife and their two young sons. It’s been almost non-stop health problem after problem; surgeries, hospital stays, being sent to specialists in other states… it just hardly seemed to stop. And it’s bad again.
Erick has only one functioning kidney and it’s failing. So he’s back in the hospital, tests are being run and solutions are being searched for. Why the kidney is failing isn’t entirely known yet, but it could be caused by another tumor. That’s the last thing you want to hear about anybody, but especially as someone with Erick’s history of fighting these deadly growths.
I’d like to share something with you that Geoff wrote about Erick. He has such a way with words, he really captures Erick’s personality in a way that will translate even to those who have never met him. So please, let me introduce you to Erick, by way of Geoff’s words:
If there was such a thing, the roads would have a lot less traffic and there would be no reality television.
But, as I see what my friend Erick and his family are going through, it’s clear karma is a myth…if not an outright joke.
I have known nobody more straight-edge than Erick. No drinking. No smoking. There has been an occasional overindulgence in fried food and cheese…especially in the days before he got married. But, how cancer finds its way into a clean-living scenario like that is beyond me.
He is, quite simply, the friendliest, most good-hearted, good-natured person I’ve ever known. We don’t go anywhere where somebody doesn’t know him. And if by some odd chance we do, by the time we leave, he’s made new friends. He is effortless in that way. Always has been. It’s a trait my grandfather had, too…a genuine ability to connect with others. It’s a trait I’d be happy to have inherited from either one of them.
But my curmudgeon gene is too strong.
I’ve never ridden with him in Los Angeles freeway traffic, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t scream obscenities the way I do. He’s even-keeled, easy-going and relentlessly upbeat that way. I’d invent new swear words in a traffic jam. He’d lead a conga line between the cars.
That’s just who he is.
He’s Murray the K.
Look it up…that’s what Wikipedia is for.
He just has “it,” you know? “It.” That “it” that certain people have. Charisma. Like a gravitational force. It makes him the center of the room. And the calm eye in the hurricane. You can’t learn it. You’re just born with it. Like the Force. And it runs strong in this Jedi called Erick.
So yes, I downplay the existence of karma, but I totally buy into the Force. Because I’m a child of the 70s.
If this sounds like a eulogy, blame the context of the day. Because it’s not. This isn’t over. Because the other thing about Erick is he has more fight and determination in him than I’ve ever seen in anybody. A hell of a lot more than I do. But far too often, we don’t say the things we should when we should. And knowing how we all feel about him at a time like this can’t hurt anything. Because, though he has always seemed bulletproof to me…everybody can use a little encouragement.
So, I urge everyone reading this to do exactly what he asked this morning. Share a story. Share your feelings. Pile it on. Let him know the world is a better place because he is in it.
Because it is.
It most certainly is.
You guys may not have ever met Erick, but take my word that he is one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet. A true hero who has had to fight for his life too many times to count. And right now, he needs help. Help from those he knows, but even from those he has never met. I would ask you to please do two things.
One: Reply to this post leaving messages of love and encouragement for Erick which I will pass on to him. He needs all the love and encouragement we can give him. Let’s show him the overwhelming love the world has for him, even from people he hasn’t met!
Two: If you can, please donate to his health care fun through GoFundMe. I know, money is tight for everyone right now. But even a $5 donation would help! It doesn’t have to be much. As you can imagine, being in the hospital and fighting cancer are extremely expensive. Every little bit we can give will help him and his family so much.
If you can only do one or the other, that’s ok! If you can do both, great!
There is so little we can do that feels constructive. I can’t enter his body and rid it of any cancer cells I find. But we can send him messages of love and show our support with a few dollars.
Lastly, please keep Erick in your prayers, if you are the praying type, your thoughts, send him good energy, light a candle in his name, however it works for you. I deeply thank you for anything that you can do for him, and I know he and his family do too! The world has so few truly spectacular people in it; we cannot afford to lose one more. Thank you all so much for your help!!