Eric’s story is a journey of resilience, courage, and the unwavering human spirit.
Eric who was born with Down Syndrome and intellectual disabilities, has faced many challenges in his life – from battling cancer to coping with the devastating loss of his beloved brother.
Martha, Eric’s mom says, “When I think back to when Eric was little – he and his, brother, Chris, were such great buddies. Chris was just 2 years older, and he really watched out for Eric. They loved to throw the football and play sports together.
As Eric grew, he was very involved with Special Olympics and played every sport possible. Chris, Eric, and I always did things together. We loved to go camping and go to parks and nature hikes, even though Eric did not like wiggly bugs and things.” Martha laughs, “He also liked to fish if there was someone to handle the slimy worms.”
Eric was 18 years old when he lost his big brother and best friend. His mother Martha explains, “Even with our huge support system of friends and relatives, Eric and I struggled to cope with this loss. But
, it was Eric who turned things around for us. On Chris’s birthday, Eric burst into my room and said, ‘Come on Mom, let’s go celebrate! It’s Chris’s birthday. We are going to get some flowers and go visit his grave and then we are going out to dinner and have dessert and sing happy birthday.’ All I could do was smile! A tradition was born, and every year, we plan an outing in honor of Chris.”
Heartache hit this family again with Eric’s diagnosis of cancer. Martha says, “Eric wasn’t feeling well, and we found out he had cancer. He had surgery and two rounds of chemo. I believe it was his incredible spirit that carried him through his treatment. Eric is such a fighter. Although the doctors said it would never return it didthis time it was much worse: Eric went through six weeks of very rigorous chemo and was really, really sick.”
When Eric came home, he could not be alone. Martha was trying to get back to work and was struggling to find help. Martha says, “It was even more complicated when Eric started having seizures. He was even in physical therapy to gain strength and was very debilitated.”
Martha continues, “I had friends that would help, and everyone was pitching in, but I hated to keep asking my friends and family for help. Bello Machre was the one that I could count on!
The team that came to help w amazing. Eric fought a huge uphill battle to get back on his feet.” His mom beams with pride: “He’s healthy now, and we just completed six years cancer-free and there is no sign of him slowing down.
is involved in Special Olympics, flag football, softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf. A few years back, we were partners and won the gold medal in Special Olympics Maryland, and they sent us to Arizona to play nationally. That was so exciting. A few years later, we went to Seattle, Washington to play softball after winning another gold medal. Sports have been a huge part of our life. He just loves participating and competing.”
We are so proud that families can count on Bello Machre in their time of need. Today, Eric has developed true friendships with his caring staff who help him lead an active life in the community.
Eric is now 43 years old, and he and his mother are planning their next steps. Martha continues, “My dream is to have Eric live in a Bello Machre home with people his own age who like the same things. I have the utmost faith in Bello Machre and feel this is absolutely the right place for Eric. Bello Machre has certainly proved again and again that they are always here to help us through anything!”
Martha’s dream for her son is the same dream so many parents have for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities facing similar challenges; the dream to find a place where their child is safe and loved for a lifetime!
Because of YOU, we are able to plan for Eric’s lifetime of care and support.
Here are other examples of how your generous gift will change lives.
$35 – Will help provide groceries for one of our homes.
$50 – Will help purchase adaptive equipment so a person can be more independent.
$75 – Will help pay for speech and occupational therapies through our Ray of Hope Program.
$100 – Will help provide a weekend of respite care during a family emergency.
$250+ – Will help provide a week of specialized summer camp for a child.
Won’t you please help us today? Your gift will help us provide loving care, support, and opportunities to all those waiting for help in our community.