Volunteer Spotlight: Eric Stimac

NEDMeet Eric Stimac, a first-time MSU Gran Fondo volunteer with a personal connection to the ride’s mission.

Q: Eric, this is your first time volunteering with MSU Gran Fondo – what made you decide to become one?

I have been personally affected by skin cancer so I am passionate about spreading awareness and helping to cure this disease in any way I can.

Q: What role will you be playing this year?

Volunteering at the Finish Line as a food station server

Q: You have a very personal connection to the MSU Gran Fondo’s mission. Could you tell us a bit about your journey with skin cancer?

Before cancer

A photo of Eric before cancer

I was originally diagnosed with Melanoma in 2012 which was presented in the form of a large mole on my neck/back area. The area was resected by surgery and the margins were clear and I thought “that is it, just a minor surgery and am now cancer free.”  I quickly healed from the surgery and went back on with life as always.

Unfortunately late 2013 I developed a large lump in my neck close to a lymph node. After being examined I was then diagnosed Stage IV Melanoma with Brain Metastasis.

At this point, my life would change drastically in all aspects. I was scheduled to have one brain surgery that would remove the tumors located in the back of the Cerebrum part of brain. The next step to treat rest of my brain tumors was to receive Stereotactic Radiation Surgery (SRS), however before they could perform SRS a tumor started to bleed in my brain.

Luckily my roommate found me on the floor seizing and was rushed to Emergency Room. I awoke from a coma a week later after the Neurosurgeon removed the bleeding tumor.

Eric during an immunotherapy treatment

Eric during an immunotherapy treatment

Since the seizure, my treatment has consisted of more SRS, oral chemotherapy, full brain radiation, and most recently Immunotherapy injections (Yervoy & Opdivo).  Thanks to the support of my family, friends and wonderful doctors I have overcome most odds. I was finally able to work again in February of this year and amazingly in April my MRI revealed No Evidence of Disease (N.E.D).

I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and I truly hope that it can help inspire others.

“Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up”
~Jimmy Valvano

Q: Why should others consider becoming a volunteer?

It is a great opportunity for someone to help reach the goal of finding a solution to a problem that is widespread and potentially deadly.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

Stay sun safe to save your skin!

We look forward to seeing you at the Finish Line Festival, Eric! Thanks for sharing your story.

Interested in volunteering at the MSU Gran Fondo this year? Click here to check out volunteer shifts and job categories.

 

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