DALLAS (WBAP/KLIF)- Life High School Oak Cliff was awarded a brand new weight room courtesy of Give a Child a Voice, a nonprofit organization founded by Eric Erdman, a terminally ill teen who is battling brain cancer. The goal of Give a Child a Voice is to end to child abuse, bullying, and life-threatening childhood illnesses. The organization works to help children and teens by showing them how powerful and important their voices can be. “Before I was diagnosed with a life-threatening terminal illness, I fought every day of my life to find peace and strength to face my painful past, due to being a victim of child abuse and bullying. I started to transform my mind and body by going to the gym to create and focus on the best version of me. The gym allowed me to shut out all the noise in my life which eventually led to finding my voice, from the help and support of my community,” said Eric.
“It teaches us to not forget where we came from and to give back to our community, to always remember that we can always make an impact whether it’s big or small and that’s what Eric showed us today,” said senior Jessica Howard. “We might not be a big school but all together we know how to love each other and we have a great relationship so I’m just happy he chose us,” she said.
Life High School Oak Cliff was one of two finalists from across the country in the “Give a Child a Voice Fitness Center Give-A-Way”, a contest which encouraged students and teachers to nominate their school for a chance at winning a complete renovation of their school’s weight room (up to $300,000). Eric visited Life High School Oak Cliff earlier this month to meet the students and share his story.
“When he was here we felt like he was one of us…we embraced him, we showed him everything and I felt like he was really touched by us,” said senior Ashanti Ferrell.
Students at life school say they learned a lot from Eric. Ferrell said most of the students have dealt with loses and tragedies and is currently rallying around a student who was also diagnosed with cancer. “I think our stories really touched him and I think he was able to relate to us and see that we are one and can come together and help each other,” said Ferrell.
Life High School Oak Cliff teacher Megan Stinson, entered the contest last year on behalf of the school and her students. “Children are resilient but winning something like this gives them hope and a place to focus their energy and find their voice, just like Eric found his, said Stinson.”
“We are so grateful for the opportunity that Eric and Give a Child a Voice have given Life High School Oak Cliff,” said Principal Anne Beckman. “We are humbled by Eric. He is an amazing young man who has made a difference in so many lives and we are thankful to have gotten to know him and his brother when they visited our school earlier this month. A refurbished gym will be life-changing for our students and families, many of whom do not have access to facilities like those Eric envisions. A new gym will truly transform not only our school, but the surrounding community. It will foster a greater sense of pride in our school and our community for our students, families and neighbors.”
With only a few months to live, Eric’s last wish is to help others and he did just that with his gift to Life High School.
Reaction from students at Life School #OakCliff @dallasschools after finding out they won a weight room renovation (up to $300k) from @giveachildavoic. The organization was created to help end child abuse, bullying and life threatening childhood illnesses. @WBAP247NEWS @570KLIF pic.twitter.com/e5rzl4fdtq
— Katrina Boonzaier (@katrinaboonz) February 20, 2020