My name is Richard Ehrmann and I am a LIVESTRONG Leader in New Jersey. I started my involvement with the Lance Armstrong Foundation after my mothers breast cancer diagnosis in 1999. My father received his prostate cancer diagnosis in 2001. My mother was re diagnosed in 2007 with Stage 3 uterine cancer. This cancer, after 18 months, took her life. It is an indescribable pain to watch and care for a loved one that slowly deteriorate over time.
I became involved with LIVESTRONG to help my family. I stay involved to have a positive impact in the lives of cancer survivors and their families. I contributed a part of my story to the book: “Planet Cancer: The Frequently Bizarre Yet Always Informative Experiences and Thoughts of Your Fellow Natives” and have been featured in the ?Spoken Word? on the Voices of Survivors website.
I lobbied and fought on behalf of Genesis Arevalo a fourteen year old girl with malignant glimoas to receive a second opinion and treatment at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. I know that I am doing something right when Dr. Henry S. Friedman, Co-Director of the Center, is calling me at 11 pm to get Genesis an appointment that week.
A fellow student, after seeing my LIVESTRONG band, told me that she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and at 24 years old, didn’t know what to do. It took a day to get her a LIVESTRONG guidebook and Planet Cancer book. I do not consider myself unique though, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people doing this exact same thing: connecting those in need with the people that can provide the help.
A very dear friend of twenty years contacted me recently. Her mother, a melanoma survivor, recently found that the cancer spread to her brain. I’m not a medical professional. I can’t help her Mom, but I can help her family. I can empathize with the family. I can talk about the importance of being a caregiver, how to navigate the medical red tape, and most important: to be available if her family needs anything. That is a commitment I make to every individual that I speak to about LIVESTRONG.
I know that I have succeeded If I can lessen the burden and the pain that cancer causes for a family. That is what keeps me engaged and motivated.