On January 27, 2011 Eric Merkley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. An aggressive cancer that we hope and the doctors to this point seem confident that is contained to one spot on his leg. Prognosis is good. Treatments and recovery will be long and painful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Team Dinner

All I can say is Wow! Tonight was the Salem Hills High School Basketball team dinner. I was hoping that Eric would have felt up to going to the dinner. And he truly wanted to go, but did not have the strength to make it. But if you will indulge me a moment to tell you about this night.
Coach DeGraffinreid spoke to the boys and told them about how proud he was of them not only as basketball players but as humans. (This is not word for word, but what I heard) He spoke of the trials that the team had to go through this year, including the night when Eric came and told the team about his leg.  He told them how proud he was of the team for surrounding Eric with not only support but love. As Coach DeGraffinreid got choked up, it was hard not to be reminded how grateful we are for that love and support, because it has helped Eric to stay strong and take that step, as hard as it is, forward on his treatments.
Coach Griffin spoke about when the team came out of the locker room the night of Eric's last game this season, and the team saw the huge tunnel the student body created for the team to walk through.  They were not sure what to do. So Jake Skinner linked arms with Eric and the rest of the team followed suit and walked through the tunnel, giving high fives as they passed.
It has been spoken of many times that it takes a village to raise a child, I am now starting to understand the meaning behind that. There are many people who come into your child's life and will help shape, love, and teach your child, in good time and bad. To personally witness the goodness of amazing people, teachers, coaches, and friends who have been here to help in anyway they can, and to know that we are not having to do this alone is comforting.

When I got home and I gave Eric the book with all the pictures and signatures from the team, this made his day. Thank you Skyhawks for allowing us to lean on you.


  1. WE LOVE YOU ERIC!!!!!! Glad you liked your book, sorry for the fuzzy picture. When I did it all on line, that big one didn't look fuzzy at all. When we got it back and it was so weird I was worried, but then after awhile I decided it was just right. It kind of brought the other pics into clearer focus and I think it made it look good. Hope it makes you happy to know you have a whole bunch of "brothers" that love you so so much!!!!!

  2. Merk,
    We also appreciated the coaches and team captains paying tribute to you and your mother last night. As Coach Griff spoke about the night the students formed a tunnel for you, my mind went back and relived those moments. Seeing in my mind the many fans on their feet, many wearing your number, the posters on the walls, your teammates (and opponents) with your initials written on their arms and legs, even cheerleaders from our rivals who brought a poster with words of support, all there to show their (our) love and concern for you and your family. It was an unforgetable night! We continue to wish you the best in your recovery. We love you Merk!

  3. We also feel very privileged to have been a part of this team. We are grateful that Nick got to be among such great young men, including you for three years of Skyhawks Basketball. The memories of this year will last a lifetime. Having your illness take front and center mid-season helped us all remember what is truly important in life. Eric, you are so strong and you are an amazing person. Our entire family thinks of you often and prays for you, as I know so many others do as well. As you continue with your treatments and recovery, know that there is a silver lining to every cloud. We wish you the very best and we know that this part of your life will mold your future and the amazing way you are handling it will mold so many others' lives as well. Hang in there. We wish you the very very best in a speedy recovery. Love, The Obray's