Meet Eric

Eric’s Personal Statement

On March 18, with a pack weighing no more than 25 lbs, I will embark on a quest to walk from Mexico to Canada—literally. The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,659 miles along the western spine of mountains, and for me, it often served as a refuge during the stressful trials of being an undergraduate with dreams of reaching medical school. The day hikes and overnight camping trips planted the seed that has blossomed into the coming journey—an aspiration to trek by foot from the Mexican border, across the deserts of Southern California, through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, before arriving in Manning Park, Canada. The idea is to combine my passions of hiking and science to raise awareness and funds for pediatric brain cancer research.  And hopefully, by following my progress, the endeavor will teach and excite people about the history, geology and ecology that are preserved by the US National Trails System.  

Why pediatric brain cancer research:

My friend’s brother, Michael Gustafson, died from medulloblastoma at the age of 15. Michael’s story hits home to me because, at its fundamental level, it epitomizes the human narrative of disease. When faced with the immanence of his mortality, Mikey decided to fight tooth and nail for what was most important in his life. This is the purpose I see for medicine—not just to alleviate pain, not to simply live longer, but to provide people the quality to pursue life in the manner they deem most meaningful. The limits of the cancer treatments available let Mikey down, but I firmly believe that the journey of a thousand miles—whether to hike the PCT, or to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer—begins with a single step. In this case, the intention is to raise four pennies for each step.

Our Story

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Next Steps…

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